North Head (Manly) - Possible Manx Shearwater

Subject: North Head (Manly) - Possible Manx Shearwater
From: Simon Blanchflower <>
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2003 17:00:00 +1000
Hi folks, spent just over an hour at North Head today and saw both Black Browed and Yellow-Nosed Albatross close to the cliff. Also saw a few Huttons Shearwater and a more "unsual" shearwater which I thought was a good candidate for Manx Shearwater.
What drew my attention to this Shearwater particularly was the stark black/white contrast between upper and lower parts - no smudging around throat/ neck or around armpits - there was no visible demarcation between underwing panel and underbody. Furthermore there was clear demarcation between white underwing panel and dark edges to the underwings (which were fairly thin - broader to the wing tips). The upper parts were very dark brown almost black - underparts were pure white (not dirty) - this was seen in good light.
Flight was big zig-zags on stiff wings, with infrequent wing beats, which varied in hight above water - higher than typical Huttons or Fluttering (in my experience) and not the typical "aukish" jizz of a Little Shearwater.
I am familiar with Manx Shearwater "in the field" having seen this species on many occasions in the UK, but I also appreciate that views from a cliff-top on a windy day with no other observers aren't exactly ideal but I did feel that this was worth a mention to you all as I'm pretty certain it wasn't Huttons,Fluttering or Little (given flight jizz) - I'm not sure how many Manx Shearwaters have been positively identified in recent years or weather this time of year is more likely given previous records. I would be interested in other views based on my description.
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