Waterbird with Red Bill

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magpie
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Waterbird with Red Bill

I have no photo of this unfortunately (kicking myself for not taking my camera).

Location: Central coast NSW lakes

It was a white bird with grey in the feathers and possibly a darker tail but not 100% on that. Distinguishing feature was the bright red beak which was quite long.

Im assuming this is a water bird. It was sitting out on the lake on rocks with cormorants and black swans. There was only one of this mystery bird and it eventually got spooked by the other birds and flew off.

It was quite large in flight and my initial thought was that it was shaped like a large seagull.

I am usually pretty good but I have NO idea what this bird is and cant find anything like it in my books.

The only thing i've found on this site is the Whiskered Tern that is similar in coloring but I swear the beak on this bird was much longer and brighter red.

Any ideas?

magpie
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Oh, tail was fan shaped and it had a black mark across the eye

ed
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Hi Magpie
Maybe a Caspian Tern

Ed Townsville NQ

magpie
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Looks similar but i dont think it had a forked tail

Anonymous

pacific gull?
beak not really red, more orangey

ed
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Still think Caspian Tern is the best guess.....

Ed Townsville NQ

magpie
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I've been going to see if i can catch it again for a photo, but as yet no further sightings. Will post a photo to confirm the species as soon as i see it again! But that photo looks very much like it.

Tassie

I will go with ed on that one.

magpie
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Finally got some (not fantastic) photos.
Size wise it seems it is a Caspian as the Whiskered is too small compared with a seagull.

Tail seems different though. Anyone 100% sure on this?

Interestingly enough i dont recall ever seeing silver gulls on this lake, but they have been there with the terns everyday, harassing them to no end.

On a photography note, my whites were completely washed out on these photos. It was cloudy with a bit of sun poking through at times. Taken at about 11am using a Nikon D80 with 70-300mm lens at f5.6 - f7 in some pics. Just could not get any good photos at 300mm.

DenisWilson
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Definitely Caspians. Size comparison with Seagull is very useful for ID.
They must be going through a off-season moult, as they are not very neat looking.
Re the tail shape, do not forget that tails are adjustable, and what looks forked when held straight, fans out as in your second image.
Glad you have resolved your inquiry.
Denis

magpie
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Yes Im going to keep an eye on them as I expect their feathers to improve - and Im going to get my feet wet to get a bit closer next time. Im disappointed with the quality of these photos.

Unfortunately the local lapwings have a hawk eye on me and as soon as they start shrieking all the other birds fly off!

heva1
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Great pics Magpie, I have never seen this bird before. Is it a 'commonly seen' around your way or a 'rarely spotted'? look forward to your wetsuit pics!

Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best

magpie
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Its the first time I've ever seen it, but I've only been here for 6 months. They may commonly migrate here during this time, as it is a coastal area coupled with freshwater lakes.

I went down again this morning all ready to get up close and personal.. and what do you know it, no terns!

Ah well, I got some pretty good Darter photos anyway!

heva1
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Hi Magpie, look forward to seeing your darter photos. Re. your question about your 'whites being washed out' I have recently started altering my ISO for cloudy/forest/low light conditions,(I increase to 800 or 1600) and found my shots have improved greatly. I have also started using a monopod as I don't have image stabilizer in my Tamron lens (18-250).You may already be doing this of course.... and if you are I have no other suggestions!!
Hey being near freshwater lakes perhaps you can ID this little bird? The shot is terrible I was a long way off and about the size of a Thornbill

Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best

magpie
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That looks like a sand plover or something, but they certainly aren't thornbill size! I dont think there are any water birds thornbill size..

As for ISO, i use auto iso with a max of 1600.

Pretty sure it was my exposure compensation which i had set at +0.3. I've now put it back to 0 and it seems to be better.

was not going to post the darter but here ya go,nothing fantastic because i didnt take my monopod once again!

DenisWilson
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Hi Heva1
.
Its a Black-fronted Dotterel.
Relatively common on fresh water swamps, etc.
Lovely little birds.
.
One of my photos is linked here.
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_6sYA7Iz1xgw/SSN0mL2BPcI/AAAAAAAAHNk/O4CHOhqRW5M/s1600-h/Black-fronted+Dotterel+-+eml.jpg
.
Cheers
Denis

heva1
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Hi Magpie and Denis, thanks for info, nice pic of the same bird Denis... black fronted dotterell. Glad you sussed out problem with camera Magpie....
Do you ever see the Darters extending a yellow pouch under thier chin? i saw one about a week ago and this happened... thought maybe he was feeling threatened and that's why he did it.

Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best

magpie
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Yes i saw this Darter doing that yesterday as he was basking in the sun drying his wings off. Didnt catch a photo unfortunately.

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