Small seabirds of Blue Rocks

To: Russell Woodford <>
Subject: Small seabirds of Blue Rocks
From: Kev Lobotomi <>
Date: Sun, 1 Jun 2014 23:44:37 +1000
Hi Russell
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

Hi Kevin

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:

Hi Russell
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
> From: 
> To: 

> 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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