SIPO at The Entrance

To: "Birding-Aus" <>
Subject: SIPO at The Entrance
From: "Robert Quinan" <>
Date: Sun, 4 Jan 2004 11:42:18 +1100
Hi All.
Here's a copy of an email I sent Alan Morris re. the SIPO at The Entrance. I'm having a hard time convincing myself that's what it is. Hopefully, someone with more experience can get there and make a definitive ID.
Spent nearly an hour this morning watching what I presume was the SIPO you saw the other day. Very short legs compared to the other Oystercatchers it was with. As you observed, it was aggressive towards the immature OZPOs, eventually chasing them off the sandbar.
After 45 minutes the bird spread its wings for me, but the wingbar did not reach the edge of the wing, looking just like the OZPO's wingbar. This was noted again when the bird flew off shortly after.
Other features noted were shorter, not longer, bill; less prominent, not more obvious, white notch at shoulder; black on breast came down at least as far, not less, than the OZPO; white on back looked very similar to pattern on the OZPO (but I didn't get a great view of this).
This bird was also slightly smaller and its wingtips were equal in length to the tail, whereas on the OZPO present the wingtips fell slightly short of the tail tip (don't know if this last point is significant).
I didn't see the underwing pattern.
I think this bird I saw today needs further investigation. It seems to lack important features of the SIPO, but the legs are too short to overlook. Richard Baxter suggested it may be an OZPO/SIPO hybrid. I've looked in Hayman et al and I can't see it being something other than an OZPO or SIPO. Variable Oystercatcher doesn't fit nor does American. Next closest was the Chatham Is. Oc, but that seems very remote.
I did only see 4 birds, 2 A+2Imm, so it could be that this is not the bird you saw. I think it is the bird I saw some time ago, at which time I noted the same wingbar as today. I also saw that bird's underwing, which looked the same as an OZPO.
Robert Quinan
Central Coast, NSW, Aust.
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