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Needing confirmation on this flying bird. (1 Viewer)

KenM

Well-known member
Got this 20 second film clip last Wednesday NE.London, first seen flying on a straight line at 130 degrees (already foreshortening when I got it in the viewfinder) Essentially black, flying fairly quickly adjacent to the wind, before a sudden turn into the strong gusting NWesterlies. My first impressions were Phalacrocorax...albeit a small one, with generally faster wing-beats, I thought a Shag!!!! and that's what I put it out as.

However I was niggled with it's flight speed and ''abrupt'' turns, thus I consequently took more grabs (25 per second), from the beginning, centre and end of the clip, and to my complete surprise! two of the frames indicate a pale/white contrasting panel to the secondaries.

On that basis I can only compute Velvet Scoter, what say others?

Cheers

https://youtu.be/cIZ_cpf3oQM
 

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TringBirder

Well-known member
The white isn't on the secondaries in my opinion. It looks like the white thigh patch of a Cormorant to me.

Cheers

Roy
 

KenM

Well-known member
The white isn't on the secondaries in my opinion. It looks like the white thigh patch of a Cormorant to me.

Cheers

Roy

Unless I’m mistaken Roy, it looks on the wing to me, the flanks are very much lower?, not to mention the size and flight action, which were not commensurate with Phalacrocorax?

Cheers
 

Rotherbirder

Well-known member
From the video, flight action/frequency of wingbeat definitely rules out any duck spp, even in the conditions you describe. I'd go for Cormorant too; the white patch looks like some kind of 'artefact' to me.

RB
 

KenM

Well-known member
From the video, flight action/frequency of wingbeat definitely rules out any duck spp, even in the conditions you describe. I'd go for Cormorant too; the white patch looks like some kind of 'artefact' to me.

RB

The artefact as you put it, is consistently in the same part of the wing in both “non sequential” frames. Obviously on the initial sighting and with an ongoing progressively “diminishing return”, it was presenting a solid black format. Agreed probably not the best images to comment on, however it did appear smaller with a faster flight action than I’m used to with Cormorant, which I probably see 3-4 times per week flying over.
It’s a shame that I didn’t catch the salient points earlier with the naked eye, I’d be interested if others believe that the “artefact” is more flank, than secondary situated?

Cheers
 

Mike Earp

Well-known member
I’d be interested if others believe that the “artefact” is more flank, than secondary situated?

Cheers

Ken

I see nothing to suggest it's not a Great Cormorant and everything, including the white thigh patch, to suggest that it is.

I think your correction of your sighting to Velvet Scoter on the London Bird Club Wiki LatestNews page was as premature as your original report of it as a Shag.

Mike
 

GWB77

Grafham Water Birder
As others have said, this looks most likely to have been a Cormorant (confirmed by your original feeling that it was a Phalacrocorax)….

One thing is it defiantly not is a Velvet Scoter (for a number of reasons, such as shape, proportions, lack of white in secondaries etc).
 

KenM

Well-known member
Ken

I see nothing to suggest it's not a Great Cormorant and everything, including the white thigh patch, to suggest that it is.

I think your correction of your sighting to Velvet Scoter on the London Bird Club Wiki LatestNews page was as premature as your original report of it as a Shag.

Mike

Mike

I note that you interpret the “artefact” as being on the flanks and not the wing?

As others have said, this looks most likely to have been a Cormorant (confirmed by your original feeling that it was a Phalacrocorax)….

One thing is it defiantly not is a Velvet Scoter (for a number of reasons, such as shape, proportions, lack of white in secondaries etc).

Yes...my initial gut feeling was of a smaller fast flying Phalacrocorax and the “sudden” turning into the wind was not what I would have expected from the species, when normally seen not infrequently flying over the house. Clearly the pale patch to the secondaries artefact or actual didn’t help, however to my eye it appears to be on the wing, and not on the flank?

That’s why I presented the video, because that’s all I saw on the bird, had I had a good profile view, there would have been no need to present it, after all...black ducks with pale/white secondary bars should be a fairly straightforward exercise.

Cheers
 

Rotherbirder

Well-known member
The artefact as you put it, is consistently in the same part of the wing in both “non sequential” frames. Obviously on the initial sighting and with an ongoing progressively “diminishing return”, it was presenting a solid black format. Agreed probably not the best images to comment on, however it did appear smaller with a faster flight action than I’m used to with Cormorant, which I probably see 3-4 times per week flying over.
It’s a shame that I didn’t catch the salient points earlier with the naked eye, I’d be interested if others believe that the “artefact” is more flank, than secondary situated?

Cheers

No matter whether its an artefact or not really. The stills clearly show a lengthy, quite narrow tail and flight action typical of a Phalacrocorax sp rather than a duck, so the location of the putative 'white secondary patch/bar' is of little or no consequence.

RB
 

birdmeister

Well-known member
United States
Sorry Ken, but I am not getting any sort of duck impressions either, from the image or the video.

I can't confirm Cormorant but have to suspect it.
 

KenM

Well-known member
No matter whether its an artefact or not really. The stills clearly show a lengthy, quite narrow tail and flight action typical of a Phalacrocorax sp rather than a duck, so the location of the putative 'white secondary patch/bar' is of little or no consequence.

RB

The default Phalacrocorax for the location is Greater Cormorant, as stated previously, some days several passing over the location, almost always NE or SW. This bird (first impression...smaller, faster and fore-shortening with every wing beat appearing solid black) was going South-North! with a flight pattern that I was totally ''unfamiliar'' with, after perhaps 50+years of species exposure even allowing for the gusting 50mph NWesterly winds.

Because of size impression (however according to Collins- the largest Shag, can reputedly match the smallest Greater Cormorant for size -a circa 20% difference!)

Hence based on what was briefly seen.....I put it out locally as a flyover Shag knowing this to be a scarce London bird, as it was heading towards the local reservoir group, and having had a number of flyover water birds historically -Goldeneye, Osprey, Shelduck, Green Sandpiper, Godwit sp, Curlew etc. my perception of ''possibility incidence'' is perhaps not as circumspect as might be compared to the norm.

Upon seeing the white/pale ''secondary'' bar (having had the ''position'' of which, confirmed by an independent party) immediately moved the goalposts to the only black water-bird that I could compute with a pale/white secondary bar....hence the question and thread! :eek!:

Cheers
 

KenM

Well-known member
It looks like a (Great) Cormorant to me, with a white flank patch.

I’m not seeing it on the flank...to my eye it’s on the wing?

FWIW I’m also supporting my original gut feeling that it’s a Phalacrocorax species, my issue is the position of the pale bar.

Cheers
 
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Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
I can't even tell if it's flying left, or right 3:)

If flying left (long neck, short tail), my gut feeling is a smallish goose, perhaps Brent.
 

KenM

Well-known member
If you can name a Eurasian - or indeed any - Phalacrocorax sp with a white secondary patch, then I'll go with it!?

RB

It would appear Rother that you can at least differentiate between “arse and elbow”...unlike some?

That said, had it been picked up later on the local reservoir...it might have been a good shout?

Based on “what I saw” with the sum total being at “odds to the norm”....then further complicated by the positioning of the white patch on the “wings”, may have been the right call, had it been subsequently refound on the reservoir group.

Perhaps a damned if you do, and damned if you don’t situation...might be applicable here?

PS...it was a learning curve for me....on the overlapping size difference between the two Phalacrocorax species. :eek!:

Cheers
 

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