Long Reef, Sydney 10 Sept

To: <>
Subject: Long Reef, Sydney 10 Sept
From: "Tom and Mandy Wilson" <>
Date: Sun, 10 Sep 2006 21:52:37 +1000
Hi all
I spent 2 1/2 hours at Long Reef, on Sydney's northern beaches 10 September
between 1:45 and 4:15pm, spending time sea watching and, once the tide had
receded sufficiently, looking for waders on the reef flat.  During the sea
- 3 Black Browed Albatross close in, plenty more albatross far offshore,
incl at least 1 Wandering and more Black Browed
- 1 Cape Petrel
- 1 Great Winged Petrel
- 2 Giant Petrel sp
- many Wedge Tailed Shearwaters and Fluttering type Shearwaters
- lots of Gannets in various plumage stages

However, of most interest were 2 large dark petrels, that came in close
(first time both birds, second time 1 bird, both times for about 1 or 2
minutes, subject to wave tops getting in the way!).  The birds showed a
large pale coloured bill with no discernible tip colour (this was the
feature that I picked up first); overall dark brown colouration, with some
white showing in the primaries on the underwing; a heavy body evenly
distributed fore/aft of the wings; small tail held in a wedge; feet not
noticeable when I saw the underside, so I assume they were dark (rules out
Flesh Footed Shearwater?) generally smooth flight with wings mostly held
projecting slightly forward from the body and a small kink at the wrist; in
profile the wing held level with a small downturn at the wing tips; a bit
bigger than the wedge tailed shearwaters, but not so noticeably bigger that
one could pick this without seeing both close together.  My first impression
on seeing them in flight was like a small dark albatross - they did not have
the "lumpy/humpback" jizz that I associate with Giant Petrels and certainly
flew with more skill and smoothness than most Giant Petrels! - I reckon
Black or White Chinned Petrel would be the likely candidates but I lost them
in a rain squall and didn't see them again - did any other Sydney sea
watchers see anything similar?

On the reef flat were:
- 1 Golden Plover (still showing some black belly)
- 1 Whimbrel (flew past)
- 1 Grey Tailed Tattler
- 3 Sooty Oystercatchers
- 15 Red Necked Stint (1 still showed a bit of colour on the breast)
- 10 Ruddy Turnstones
plus the usual collection of cormorants, terns (all Crested) Silver Gulls
and White Faced Heron

I popped round the corner to look at Dee Why Lagoon on my way home - the
lagoon is open to sea so has been pretty much emptied of water so not much
there.  Narrabeen Lagoon, on the other hand, is brimming!

Tom Wilson


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