"martin butterfield" <>
Sun, 16 Jan 2005 18:36:25 +1100
Why is there never a guru present when I try to see an unusual wader?
Here are my reasons why I thought I saw the pectoral on Sunday noon.
Arguments for and against were:
1) cut-off of brown on breast very clear - pectoral. However a few
brownish marks on flanks raised doubts. I resolved this on looking at
Simpson and Day which showed exactly this situation for pectoral. Most other
field guides were not helpful.
2) legs were quite yellow - pectoral - but the field guides seem to have
two bob each way with sharp-tailed in saying yellowish, but always
illustrating with olive or grey;
3) bill length and colour were awkward as the bird kept dunking it in the
water. I eventually decided that the bill was possibly longer than the head
(pectoral) and not noticeably shorter. Also the base of the bill was
lighter than the tip (see photos of the two species in "The shorebirds of
Australia" - Nat'l Photo. Index - I thought it much more like pectoral) but
I'd not describe the base of the bill as "yellow" as some of the field
4) Crown colour: Looked pretty much like the colour of a sharp-tailed but
not so extensive a brown area. Perhaps I should be able to tell "chestnut"
from "dark-brown" more readily, but not being Leonardo da Vinci this one
came closer to sharpie.
5) Neck length and head shape. This seems to be a bit of an "experience
with species" call and not having a sharpie to hand this was difficult. Not
a ruff clone but I'd probably say tended to the long-neck, round head end of
the spectrum (pectoral).
It didn't fly away (probably got too much food in its crop to achieve lift
off) so no comment about wing bars and such like. The voice for the little
I heard it (from quite close) didn't really help.
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