Possible Newell's Shearwater, Marion Reef, Coral Sea

To: Simon Mustoe <>
Subject: Possible Newell's Shearwater, Marion Reef, Coral Sea
From: "" <>
Date: Sun, 20 Dec 2009 15:40:02 +1100
Thanks for the note we will look forward to the submission.  Technically 
Tropical Shearwater is already on the Australian list but is listed (if I 
understand correctly) as Audubon's Shearwater Puffinus lherminieri.

A few interesting links though:'s_Shearwater


---- Simon Mustoe wrote:
> Hi,
> Just a quick note on the Newell's report from Marion Reef. It seems that we 
> made the drew the same conclusion as others in the past, and the moral as 
> always, is that the field guides are not complete. The Audubon's complex 
> includes a group of nesting islands home to birds collectively called 
> "Tropical Shearwater" and the size of the bird we saw seems to fit this 
> group. At the moment, it is generally considered as one 'species' though this 
> probably belies a more complex genetic make-up. From talking to Mike Carter, 
> who has also seen birds in the Coral Sea, Tropical Shearwaters from New 
> Caledonia fit the description of the bird we saw and are not dissimilar to 
> Newell's in terms of markings. If anything, Newell's is even larger and more 
> Manx Shearwater-like. So, we will be looking to submit this under Tropical 
> Shearwater, possibly along with Mike's observations. This species is not 
> currently on the Australian list, so this is an exciting find and would have 
> made the Lihou trip well worthwhile for every birder who came along. Who 
> knows what else there is to discover out there!!
> Regards,
> Simon.
> > Date: Sun, 13 Dec 2009 22:17:55 +1000
> > From: 
> > To: ; ; 
> > 
> > CC: 
> > Subject: [Birding-Aus] Possible Newell's Shearwater, Marion Reef, Coral Sea
> >
> > Hi all,
> >
> > Exciting news from Simon Mustoe on the Lihou expedition in the Coral Sea.
> > They have found and photographed a possible Newell's Shearwater. You can
> > see some (fairly grainy) photos at
> > however I'm sure when they get
> > back to port (and aren't transmitting data via satellite phones) that they
> > will post better shots. Below is Simon's description of the bird. Also, if
> > you haven't already checked it out, video #3 from the Lihou expedition is up
> > with some great underwater footage at
> >
> > Regards,
> > Chris
> >
> > ----------------------------------
> > Hi,
> >
> > Just on the east side of Marion Reef yesterday at about 16:30, we
> > encountered a medium-sized black and white shearwater flying with about 400
> > Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, a dozen Red-footed and Masked Boobies, fifty
> > Black-naped Terns and a few Common Noddies. The wind conditions were a fresh
> > (15 knot) southeasterly, clear skies and a 1.5m swell. The views were
> > obtained from the forecastle at a height of about 6m above sea level. The
> > bird in question did not approach close to the vessel. The minimum distance
> > was about 100m but it flew alongside for about 2 minutes, then returned for
> > a brief and slightly closer pass later. Photos were obtained during the
> > first sighting (see below).
> >
> > The most immediate noticeable feature was the large amount of white around
> > the tail. This was seeable without binoculars, giving the impression of an
> > almost white rump, and was much more extensive than in the similar-sized
> > Fluttering Shearwater. The black under the eye (see images) would rule out
> > Little Shearwater but the size and flight style was not right for the latter
> > species, which tends to fap in quick succession, inter-dispersed with glides
> > and is tiny compared to Common Noddy (see photo, with species side by side).
> > This bird was shearing more in the style of a Fluttering Shearwater and
> > flying strongly. Hutton's Shearwater could be ruled out by the combination
> > of base colour (black, as opposed to brown); lack of dusky markings under
> > the wings; lack og dark undertail coverts and lack of hood.
> >
> > The bird had thick dark trailing edges to the underwing and indistinct
> > axillary markings (see photo). The photos show no dark undertail coverts and
> > the white extending down the centre of the tail, indicative of Newell's
> > Shearwater. Although white extending up behind the eye is not apparent, it
> > seems to lack any collar, which would be a feature of Townsend's and
> > Fluttering Shearwater. Of all these species, Newell's is most likely as it
> > breeds in June and would disperse in other months. Fluttering breed in New
> > Zealand in October / November and Townsend's at this time of year off
> > Mexico.
> >
> > More to follow, including BARC submission.
> >
> > Simon Mustoe, Nathan Waugh, Dave Stickney, Jim Caine.
> > ===============================
> >
> >
> >
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