I wouldn't be relying on size when you are looking at birds without something
to compare them to. The flight alone suggests Fluttering type shearwaters. With
the sun behind you, you should be able to make out that they're blue-grey with
an M marking even in dull light at a distance (I have seen prions at 10 ks +
from shore & easily identified them from Fluttering Shearwaters.). Prions tend
to be almost all white underneath too, although strong sunlight can make
Fluttering S look all white too, but since it was very dull today that
shouldn't be a problem. From your description a storm petrel isn't a
possibility, they do not flutter & glide like this & they often dance around on
the water. I think most likely Fluttering Shearwater.-Kevin Bartram
Date: Sun, 1 Jun 2014 22:57:15 +1000
Subject: Small seabirds of Blue Rocks
These seemed a lot smaller, or at least chunkier (shorter-winged and stout
body) than shearwaters. I tried to look for the M marking to make them some
sort of Prion but I just couldn't see enough detail.
I wondered about CDP but as I've never seen one I wouldn't stick my neck out
and try to identify anything as a diving-petrel. And storm-petrel don't hang
around in flocks, do they?
I think the closest I can get is "dumpy seabirds a long way away." I think I
need to go on another pelagic!
On 1 June 2014 22:48, Kev Lobotomi <> wrote:
What you describe reminds me more of Fluttering Shearwaters. They tend to flap
a lot & then glide. Fluttering are blackish above white below, prions are
blue-grey above with a distinct M marking across the upperparts & white below.
Prions have a more buoyant flight with lots of gliding and pattering on the
surface. I suppose the other possibility is Diving Petrels, but they are rarely
seen from shore. They are tiny compared to the other two & their flight is not
dissimilar to a quail with a whirr of wings, although they do glide a little as
well in a strong breeze.-Kevin Bartram
> Date: Sun, 1 Jun 2014 22:34:09 +1000
> Subject: [Birding-Aus] Small seabirds of Blue Rocks
> Also late this afternoon, close to sunset, very hazy ...
> There was a group of 45-50 smallish dumpy seabirds about a kilometer off
> the beach. They would head in one direction, then wheel around and head in
> the other. They did this for a few turns then headed westwards. Flight
> usually began with fast wingbeats followed by short glides very low over
> water. Some birds landed briefly. White contrasting with darker grey, but I
> couldn't pick up any clearer markings. Fairy Prion? Or too hard to call?
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