Victoria pelagic

To: "Stephen Keen" <>, "birding aus" <>
Subject: Victoria pelagic
From: "Simon Blanchflower" <>
Date: Wed, 18 Jan 2006 18:56:54 +1100
Stephen, It takes years of practice to correctly id seabirds, especially from the shore (and I am a looonnnggg way from being an expert) especially when you are generally on a headland with a rough wind blowing which is giving you severe image shake! At least in Australia the weather is generally warmer - I used to go seawatching regularly at Cley Coastguards in Norfolk when a harsh northerly was blowing trying to track down Little Auks, Puffins and Great Skuas!

Because of these generally poor viewing conditions jizz is so important (or is it jezz or jozz for those that have read Seans book). Sooty Shearwaters are very similar to Short-Tailed from a distance - a couple of features I tend to look for and can be reliable particularly if you can make direct comparison is that Sooty's have an "elongated" appearance relative to Short-Tailed due to their much longer bill (I think its about 1.5x longer), in addition in good light the underpanel of Sooty creates a "white flash" appearance as they glide from side to side, this is in contrast to Short-Tailed which just gives the appearance of a pale underwing (I think this looks more "greyish" than white or perhaps a dirty white rather than a more distinctive "flash") panel which is less obvious.

Hope this helps

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