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Post Info TOPIC: Basic identification help!


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RE: Basic identification help!


Michael there is one important feature, probably a clincher in some instances (if dealing with a paler looking Pied?) that hasnt been mentioned, the birds rump.
White Wagtails have a pale rump matching the pale grey mantle and also pale upper tail coverts, whereas the rump and upper tail coverts of a Pied Wagtail are black. Sometimes not the easiest features to see as Wagtails dont usually keep still for long.

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Michael Hood wrote:

Thanks for the opinions, after re-looking at the photos and considering that the bird was "resident" I was coming to the female Pied Wagtail conclusion, but thought a second opinion wouldn't go amiss just in case.

FYI: this is on the River Irwell in Salford - great place for watching wagtails (Pied & Grey) and Goosanders - 61 on Tuesday!



-- Edited by Michael Hood on Thursday 12th of May 2022 08:19:54 AM



Michael, there is a nice paper by Lee GR Evans and Martin Cade entitled, The Separation of White and Pied Wagtails. I cant just copy the link at the moment, so if you Google the title, it should come up.

I find it very useful if I am in any doubt, especially at autumn migration, when there are a variety of different plumages on offer.

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Thanks for the opinions, after re-looking at the photos and considering that the bird was "resident" I was coming to the female Pied Wagtail conclusion, but thought a second opinion wouldn't go amiss just in case.

FYI: this is on the River Irwell in Salford - great place for watching wagtails (Pied & Grey) and Goosanders - 61 on Tuesday!



-- Edited by Michael Hood on Thursday 12th of May 2022 08:19:54 AM

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From my limited experience I'd agree with Craig. I saw a few Alba at Marshside RSPB a few weeks ago and they generally stand out with how pale they are, you notice this first and it dawns on you that you might have an Alba on your hands.

The other general rule of birding that you always hear is, 'if you're not sure/have to think about it, then it probably isn't whatever you want it to be' if that makes sense...

I think I'm right in saying that they are normally passage birds in the UK, so sticking around for a month wouldn't fit with that, but there are always exceptions

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I'd be going for a Pied Wagtail from these shots. The mantle of a White Wagtail would be much more silver grey and contrast quite distinctly with the head/nape and wings - even a female White Wagtail would show contrast though the line between mantle and nape can be more blurred. The flanks also look to be quite extensively grey. On a White Wagtail they would be whiter. Having said that, the dark impression could be a photo artefact, but from what I can see this is a Pied Wagtail.



-- Edited by Craig Higson on Tuesday 10th of May 2022 10:46:43 PM

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Is this a female Pied Wagtail or a White Wagtail (I know Pied is a sub-species, etc)

And what are the defining features that would make a White Wagtail id?

Extra info:

  • These photos were taken nearly a month ago but the same bird is still hanging around the same bit of river.
  • In the same stretch of river there's a (definite) Pied Wagtail (M) and a pair of Grey Wagtails. 

Photos aren't great - still learning how to use a smartphone on a small spotting scope.



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It did have me puzzled ,thanks all for the input



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I think Docs right David, Gadwall x Mallard hybrid for me too!

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Really weirdly it looks like a Gadwall x Mallard Hybrid although that isn't obvious from the colour mix at first sight!! See the shots of a number of such hybrids on eBird:

https://ebird.org/species/x00420

 

Scroll down to see a number of individual photos smile



-- Edited by Doc Brewster on Saturday 16th of April 2022 04:09:32 PM

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Can someone give me the id of this mallard size duck?thanks 



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I like a decent mystery bird Rick. I'd agree with Rob and suggest Sanderling (it is the wrong structure and wing length for Snow Bunting). If you had a picture of the leg and foot that would clinch it, Sanderling, the only calidrid lacking a hind toe (fact)!

Probably the reason why they are able to run, so amusingly, up and down the beach (not a fact)!



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Could be a Snow Bunting, but without getting a feel for size etc its a tricky one. Small Waders like Sanderling have similar black and white wing patterns too.

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Cheers Rob,

Heres a macabre one. Found this predation on Spurn Christmas Day. I thought snow bunting (there were 4 just up the beach). But Im not sure. Any thoughts?

cheers,

rick



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Hi Rick, its a Common Buzzard.

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A friend of my dads took this in Southport. Anybody got any ideas? Face markings and beak shape have got me stumped! Pardon the pun (those are cricket nets its perched on )



-- Edited by Rick Hall on Wednesday 15th of December 2021 05:52:46 PM

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Thanks Dave, Bowland's Hey, Westhoughton. over the footpath from old lane junction down to Bowlands Hey itself.  Over the building site.

45 of.  Still there today.  Geographic:  Lat 53.5507N Lon -2.5329W

I'll post sightings on the Westhoughton topic



-- Edited by Ainslie Casson on Saturday 2nd of October 2021 04:20:15 PM



-- Edited by Ainslie Casson on Saturday 2nd of October 2021 04:20:54 PM

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Yes, they are Linnet, dark primaries with extensive white in them, blackish notched tail. A decent flock, where was that taken?

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Can someone confirm please?

I've got this flock as, Linnet.

Photo taken from a distance with the wrong shutter speed (doh!)



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Thankyou Richard (and Ian by pm).

If you see on the original post I made one the Cheshire sub forum / Mersey sites, I did mention that kids (not mine!) had been throwing loaf slices of white bread at the gulls. That might explain the big throatness; moult (as I sort of expected) reduces the out of the ordinary to the ordinary, just not in an ordinary stance.

It did look big though!. Gulls hey! 

Thanks for the prompt replies and help though.

 

 



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Andy Slee wrote:

Saw a very large gull which I couldn't quite place today. Very white wings in flight and only slightest hint of primaries not protruding tail. Expect probably a dodgy hybrid / moult / id not possible.

 

Link to site of sighting.

 

https://manchesterbirding.activeboard.com/t25904422/cheshire-river-mersey-sites/




I'm brave enough to have a stable at this. I'm no top expert on gulls, but first impressions were immediate, and personally, this looks to me like a male Herring gull in molt during its third year. The crop is full of food, giving it a bulky and larger appearance, especially around it's neck It's not unusual to have almost all the black wing tips hidden or missing during molt. I've seen one Herring gull giving that appearance in Scotland once on a September holiday, and I often see Black headed gulls with almost completely white wings. But this is only a brief period and in flight, they can therefore be mistaken for completely white wings. The picture is of poor quality, but I can make out what appears to be black wing tips just perring on the tips.

Hybrids do happen, but it's worth to note that this is rare. This will therefore, result in a mixed appearance of two species combinations and in my personal experience, for a white winged gull, (such as a glaucous gull x herring) I would have expected the wing tips to be grey rather than white. I'm sure someone else with more experience on hybrids will correct me on this if I'm wrong on this.

Hope this helps.

Ta!

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Saw a very large gull which I couldn't quite place today. Very white wings in flight and only slightest hint of primaries not protruding tail. Expect probably a dodgy hybrid / moult / id not possible.

 

Link to site of sighting.

 

https://manchesterbirding.activeboard.com/t25904422/cheshire-river-mersey-sites/



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Rick Hall wrote:

Does a Water Rail ever make the grunting sound of a pig without the high pitched squeal afterwards? Or is there another bird that oinks?


 sound like you have heard a water rail , classic description of a water rail call , sounds like a pig ..

 

 



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Does a Water Rail ever make the grunting sound of a pig without the high pitched squeal afterwards? Or is there another bird that oinks?



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Stick with dunlin Simon, ian Mckercher confirmed it earlier,

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Somebody needs to be brave and have a stab at this ID!

I am stuck between the 2nd image where I think Dunlin and the 3rd where I think Curlew Sandpiper. The bill is too long and curved down for anything else, apart from possibly Purple Sandpiper, but the plumage is wrong for that, or some American rarity that I can't cope with! Perched photo suggests Dunlin on the dark area on the belly above the legs, but 3rd photo has apparent strong supercilium and looks more like Curlew Sand. The apparently large amount of white on the wings is foxy too, I associate that with Sanderling, but it surely can't be one of them with that bill.

I'll go with Dunlin, somewhere between adult summer and winter plumage and whatever ssp has the longest bill..

Would love to get a view from a decent birder though!

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Im looking for id on this bird,sent from a mate in top end of Scotland? Thanks in advance, i have a liitle video of it from where i have grabbed these pictures ill upload it if i can,



-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Wednesday 8th of September 2021 09:42:19 AM

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If it helps Natalie, I've posted 2 pictures of a juvenile/1st winter cormorant. I'm sure your partner will be able to confirm after viewing these pictures.

Thanks. Ps. One last point, the extent of the white can vary from bird to bird, especially with regarding age (such as months old).

-- Edited by Richard Thew on Sunday 13th of June 2021 07:52:38 PM

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Young Cormorant

If you click on the image to get a bigger pic, then right-click on that to "open image in new Tab", you can then use the usual ctrl/+ to expand as needed

The Gulls are unlikely to be happy sitting next to a Peregrine anyway

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Younger / juv Cormorants have similar colouration to the bird in your image and when sat in the upright position that this bird is in - they are larger (or taller at least) than practically all the large Gulls, so could easily appear twice the size of a smaller Gull.
I would stick with Cormorant, looks to be doing what a Cormorant would do and where it would be doing it!



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Hmmm, my other thought was also cormorant because round where she lives, it's basically all gulls and cormorants! But the colour was throwing me. Also, I have been informed it was 'twice the size of a seagull' so I am not sure about the information I am getting

biggrin



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Hi Natalie,
it doesn?t look like a Peregrine, if anything the colouration matches an Osprey BUT I dont think its a Bird of Prey. If it was, I don?t think the Gulls would just be calmly sat there doing nothing.
My suspicion is its a young Cormorant but youd need a better image to be sure.
Hope that helps

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Can anyone help with this bird. My partner has just sent me this photo! It was taken on the docks in Liverpool. Pergrine falcon was my idea?!

 

can anyone help



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Cheers Les. I never get used to them soaring like that either. I've known them cause confusion at raptor watch points, especially inland.

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Mike Chorley wrote:

Hi Les. It's a Cormorant.


 Thanks for that Mike, my in flight book of British birds has let me down as I did look at Cormorant but its silhouette pics of Ducks &

Geese seemed a better match, but obviously their flight behaviour is not consistent with what I saw today.



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Hi Les. It's a Cormorant.

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This afternoon above my house I saw what I assume was a duck or small goose doing exactly what a buzzard does - circling on thermals about 200 feet up but with occasional wing flapping.

It did this for approximately 5 minutes rising higher each time before eventually heading off north.

I have never observed this behaviour before from a duck/goose & was wondering does anyone know what it could be.

A cropped silhouette picture is attached to hopefully help with the I.D. 



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Yes, manky Mallards Brendan, but Id like to rectify what I stated in my last post.
I used the term hybrid, but strictly speaking these are likely to be of just Mallard ancestry, rather than be a hybrid, the offspring of 2 different species.
Cheers

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Thanks, guys - I finally managed to get myself, the mallards-of-dubious-parentage, and a camera all in the same place and with some light this afternoon. It was the light that was in scarce supply, of course.

The attached photograph I think confirms the identification - there were a couple of Muscovy Ducks hanging around as well, but I don't think they bear any responsibility...

 



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Hi Brendan,
I think the guys are right. Chances are they are Manky Mallard hybrids, and like you said in your original observation - they looked like Mallards - I think you may have answered your own question.
Besides, I cant think of anything else likely to have the mainly black plumage and found on a canal, and as Pete has already stated, there are some in that area.





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Balance of probability is, they are manky Mallard,  There's quite a few on that stretch of the canal with questionable parentage. 



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For an inexperienced eye, consider Gadwall or Shoveler. Look up their winter plumage

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Hi Brendan
Without having actually seen them, they will almost certainly be a domestic breed of Mallard, hence not appearing in the Collins guide.
There is some info on these and other duck-related conundrums at https://www.birds.cornell.edu/crows/domducks.htm
Regards
Dave


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The Ashton Canal (on the section between city centre & Audenshaw bridge) has a small number of what to my uneducated and inexperienced eye look like mallards but all in black - i.e. basic shape of head etc is mallard-like but all colouration is black-grey. I can't find anything that matches in my Collins Bird Guide: any suggestions please?



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