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Shearwater?


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#1 Harpo57

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 10:54 PM

Merritt Island, FL..... There have been many sighting all along the Florida coast with the winds we have been having. I know nothing about these birds but was out today but only got one bird that I thought might be a Shearwater of some kind maybe. (pic 1) The other I think might be just a Black Tern that was flying just over the waves. (pic 2)

[attachment=98489:UNKNOWN.jpg]

[attachment=98488:BLACK TERN.jpg]

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#2 fisherman1313

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 10:58 PM

The first does look like some kind of shearwater but the second looks more like a petrel than a tern. I'll leave the species ID to someone more qualified though.

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#3 Liam

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 02:06 AM

I'm getting a bit of an immature Laughing Gull vibe for 1, but 2 does look like a Storm-petrel.

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#4 psweet

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 02:39 AM

Nice call on that first bird, Liam. I wouldn't have jumped to that one, but the combination of a white tail and dark underwings pretty much rules out any of the shearwaters that you would expect in the North Atlantic, and the bill's too long and thin for any of the Pterodroma.
I agree with Storm-Petrel for the 2nd bird -- nothing else really has that abrupt forehead. Wilson's is the most abundant, and the most likely to be seen from shore, I believe.

#5 Harpo57

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 06:09 AM

Hmm, I local well known birder who goes out there a lot says the first is some kind of Storm Petrel and the second a Black Tern. The Black Tern was small compared to some Laughing Gull that were on the water.

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#6 RyanI

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 07:54 AM

I think the first is a laughing gull, its definately not a storm-petrel and agree the second looks like a storm-petrel sp.

#7 BarnSwallow

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 12:05 PM

Hmm, I local well known birder who goes out there a lot says the first is some kind of Storm Petrel and the second a Black Tern. The Black Tern was small compared to some Laughing Gull that were on the water.


This wouldn't make any sense. Storm petrels that you'd find on the east coast are all dark - no pale underparts. Also, black terns are slightly larger than storm petrels, according to Sibley's.

#8 TheBillyPilgrim

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 12:26 PM

I can't provide any help on the second bird (never seen a storm petrel, but the head shape looks right IMO). I agree the first bird definitely looks like an immature Laughing Gull.

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#9 Harpo57

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 03:48 PM

Immature Laughing Gull does look good for the first bird. When I get home from work I will post some other angles of the second which shows some white on it.

Thanks everyone. Any Petrel would be a lifer.

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#10 Harpo57

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 09:43 PM

Here are 6 more shots of the Black Tern/Storm Petrel

[attachment=98501:PETREL 1.jpg]

[attachment=98502:PETREL 2.jpg]

[attachment=98503:PETREL 3.jpg]

[attachment=98504:PETREL 4.jpg]

[attachment=98505:PETREL 5.jpg]

[attachment=98506:PETREL 6.jpg]

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#11 psweet

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 10:55 PM

Man -- nice find from shore! This is undoubtedly a Storm-Petrel -- In addition to the head and wing shape, this guy has a white rump and dark tail, with dark over most of the undertail coverts. A Black Tern would have a pale gray tail that doesn't contrast with the rump, and extensive white below, extending from the legs back through the undertail coverts.

As far as which species -- I'm far from an expert. However, this looks more like a Band-rumped than anything else, to my eye. The arm seems to long relative to the hand for a Wilson's, and try as I might, I can't see any hint of the feet behind the tail. The tail never appears forked the way a Leach's would, and there appears to be a bit too much white on the undertail coverts.

If you ever get the chance, get out on a boat trip to see these guys up close!

#12 Liam

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 11:46 PM

Oh yes, definitely storm-petrel. The three that you're most likely to encounter are the Wilson's, Band-rumped, and Leach's.
I agree with Band-rumped. In your last photo, the bird obviously doesn't have feet behind the tail, as it would for Wilson's, and the white on the rump is the wrong shape for Leach's
As you stated, there have been strange winds on the South Atlantic lately (check out this map) that have been blowing pelagics shoreward. A Leach's Storm Petrel was recently spotted on the shore of Cumberland Island here in Georgia. Note the differences between your bird and that individual: http://www.flickr.co...in/photostream/

4riN89X.png Liam
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#13 Harpo57

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 06:05 AM

Tks everyone for the info.

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