Well done John, & others involved, on the new WA Birding blog - some very
interesting articles on some birds that us Easteners don't get to see as often
as you guys do !!
I really enjoyed the Pectoral Sandpiper ID article, especially with your
inclusion of a link to the ID discussion on the Feathers & Photos forum of a
photographed dark individual... I am very glad that you highlighted this
particular case in your blog ID notes ...
The NSW bird featured in Feathers & Photos that you have highlighted was
initially ID'd as a Pectoral by nearly all having a go at it on the forum,
including the observer/photographer. This perfectly illustrates how hard they
can be for some & the need for better ID aids/info.
Up here at Cairns Esplanade, from Sept-Nov, we get Sharp-tailed Sandpipers that
look just like this individual. Many of these dark-breasted Sharpies are
mistaken up here at this site for Pectorals, but whenever I've heard of a claim
of a Pectoral here, upon inspection they have all been moulting post-breeding
Sharpies, almost identical to this NSW bird photographed.
This season there were at least 4 of these dark-breasted Sharpies at the
Esplanade (they had me interested for a little while as they are difficult if
not observed closeby, but when seen well, they were able to be correctly
identified - photos I took left no doubt as to their ID).
Personally, I feel that nearly every relatively recent record of Pectorals at
this site in Cairns are indeed just moulting post-breeding Sharpies. I'm not
saying here that it is impossible for a Pectoral to turn up on Cairns Esplanade
- just that we need to be very very careful when claiming them here...
The ID notes in your blog (& it's reference to the informative Sharpie photo)
can only help observers learn how to ID these 2 tricky species, that as you
say, become easier with practice - unfortunately for observers up here, just
getting the chance to see Pectorals for such practice is very very
difficult...I have only had a couple of personal records of Pectorals up this
way in 15 years & they've all been well inland.
A good close look at your blog notes would be a great learning tool for
observers in the absence of the birds themselves... I think everyone would
agree that they are hard birds to ID correctly & your notes cover it very well,
far better than any current Aust field guides in my opinion.
Keep the ID section in your WA blog coming with other great information...
I look forward to reading it in future - what a great region of Aust your part
of the world is !!
> To: ;
> Date: Wed, 30 Mar 2011 16:19:20 +0800
> Subject: [Birding-Aus] WA Birding Blog
> Hi again,
> A few of us have been working on putting together a blog on birding in WA,
> which we hope to build into a useful source of information on birds and
> birding in Western Australia (some content will also be relevant and
> hopefully of interest to birders in other parts of the country!). For those
> interested, the blog (with our first few articles) can be accessed at
> Comments, queries, suggestions etc. are all welcome - you can get in touch
> with us at
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