Ducks and mystery birds

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Ducks and mystery birds
From: "Greg Clancy" <>
Date: Mon, 30 May 2005 11:30:48 +1000
Hi all,
On our monthly wildlife bus trip on Saturday May 28 we observed a Freckled Duck at Smiths Lake, Moonee, a Freckled Duck and 2 Wandering Whistling Ducks at Newmans Road dam, Woolgoolga and 12 Wandering Whistling-Ducks at a dam on Woolgoolga Creek Road.  A group of Freckled Ducks had been reported at Newmans Road dam recently by local birdwatchers.
Also had a pair of mystery birds off Moonee Headland.  They were flying south or slightly sout-west, a few kilometres offshore.  They appeared to be lager than a shearwater but smaller than a gannet, flying with regular wingbeats.  They were flying close together and were in a syncronised flight.  They appeared to be brown above, possibly mottled, and white or whitish below.  They didn't appear to be waders.  I am familiar with most of the seabirds and shorebirds on the New South Wales North Coast but these had me stumped.  Thought possibly skuas but not convinced.
Any ideas? 
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