[BQ_Forum] Mystery Wader

To: "Jon Wren" <>, <>
Subject: [BQ_Forum] Mystery Wader
From: "Tim Murphy" <>
Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2006 17:32:24 +1000
I should have mentioned the trick of downloaded the images for more detailed

Digital photography has some odd features compared to film.

The pictures were taken on a Panasonic Lunix FZ5, which is 5 megapixels 12X
optical  zoom and 4X digital (both were maxed out I understand).

The picture I received was 2560 x 1920 pixels (which would have been built
up from the centre of the 1/2.5" CCD device only (is this correct Zen? *)
The Venus Engine II, in the camera, will turn this picture into 1 1/2 JPG
which may sharpen lines like barring on back. It also, I suspect, makes the
white line behind the bird's eye (in both photos) more conspicuous.

I got these pictures and used Paint Shop Pro to cut out the bird part of the
original image - this ended up as 1170X1146 image. I then used <img height
and width tags to keep the screen image sizes down to 409X309, which
resulted in Windows (or whatever) and the browser of your choice processing
the image to get something which looks good and sharp on the screen.

When you come down to it, very subtle details may be misleading and not
resemble, very much, what you would see with your own eyes, if you had been

However, on what we have to go on, plus all the good feedback, Bar-tailed is
leading the field, but Black-tailed is still in the race. Asian Dowitcher is
well behind the field.

Tim Murphy

* Comment(s) requested from expert on Digital Photography in bcc for this

PS. I agree the American Dowitchers are very tricky. If I remember. it is
relative bill length, not bird size that maters.

-----Original Message-----
From: Jon Wren 
Sent: Friday, 20 October 2006 4:07 PM
To: Tim Murphy; 
Cc: Birding-aus
Subject: [BQ_Forum] Mystery Wader

Gooday all,
I copied the photo for Quiz 2 Bird One to Picture Manager and was able to
get a more detailed image and wish to revise my original suggestion of Asian
Dowitcher to Bar-tailed Godwit adult non-breeding plumage.
After having a closer look at the picture I notice now the bill seems to be
so long due to the fact that the bird is extracting a worm from the mud! Or
is it a female with the longer bill? Buff scalloping of feathers on the
mantle plus the fine streaking down the neck and side of breast plus a hint
of pink at the base of the bill when zoomed in makes me more in favour of
the Bar-tailed Godwit now.
Thanks Tim for an interesting photo, it is difficult to come to a full
conclusion with just one photo but once habits are observed and noted then
the task can be a lot easier. Such as the sewing machine feeding action of
the Dowitcher that you mentioned. I recall years ago reading an article
about Long-billed Dowitchers as opposed to Short-billed Dowitchers. In short
it came to the conclusion that some S-b D have bills the same size as L-b D
and vica versa.
We are all learning and again have been into the Field guides etc to study
the notes, making us more prepared for the birding challenges ahead.
Jon Wren

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