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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 9:11 am 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Sorry everyone,

I am hectically busy at the moment. I will only post the quiz later this afternoon.

Regards

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Latest Lifer(s): White-winged Flufftail, Dickinson's Kestrel, Senegal Coucal, Three-banded Courser, African Broadbill, Thrush Nightingale, Rufous-bellied Heron.

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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:54 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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9/10 for #45


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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 11:05 am 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
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5/10 for me :|

Great score Hilda :k A wooden spoon for you :twisted:
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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 12:06 pm 
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Thank you Micetta! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 12:16 pm 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
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OK, I'll have to post these answers a little earlier today as we're leaving for Polokwane in a short while to kick off Birding Big Day 2013 at midnight. I hope we have some more members who'll be taking part? I know MattAxel and his team will be doing the same route as us. Hopefully we'll bump into them during the day so we can wave friendly at them as we're kicking their butts. :D

I received 12 entries for this challenge and the average score was 5.5/10. It seemed to be as tough a challenge as I thought it would be and to be perfectly honest, I'm not sure I would've had all of them correct if I didn't compile the challenge myself. Huge congrats to Tinkerbird who is our only 10/10 scorer!

So for those who haven't figured it out yet, this was purely a Calidrid challenge. Each one of the birds are of the Calidris genus which is the undisputed killer genus of the wader world when it comes to identification. To make things worse, of all the Calidrids, the Little Stint is extremely common in southern Africa and all the others are extremely rare. Unsurprisingly, most of them are usually confused with Little Stint.

Often, with these birds, the structure and proportions of the bird is every bit as important in identification as the plumage. These features don't necesesarily always show up in a single pic so don't beat yourselves up if you didn't get all of them.

And a quick plug before we get to the results; If you're interested in learning more about wader ID in southern Africa, mosie over to the Waders of Southern Africa Facebook page and join up. I plan on posting this challenge there as well once all this is over.

OK, so on to the answers:

Bird 1
Image
Baird's Sandpiper - Identified correctly by 6/12. Notice the finely streaked complete breast band, finely tipped bill (as opposed to the blunter tip of Little Stint) and the long sharp wing tips, projecting well beyond the tail tip. The bird has short legs and an elongate appearance. Colouration is mostly shades of brown. If you see rufous or shades of red on the bird, it's not a Baird's Sandpiper. This bird happens to be a juvenile which can be seen from the white margins to the scapulars and secondaries.

Bird 2
Image
Little Stint - Identified correctly by 7/12. I purposefully put this one after the Baird's Sandpiper as it is also a juvenile but illustrates many of the features where Little Stint differs from Baird's Sandpiper. Notice the bright rufous colours on this bird. Of course in a non-breeding adult that won't be there but we'll get to that later. Also notice how the bill tip is a blunt rounded tip, how the breast band is more smudgy and not complete and how the body appears more rounded and plump.

Bird 3
Image
Temminck's Stint - Identified correctly by 8/12. Yellow legs! When you see yellow legs on a Calidrid, go ape because you've found something that will have twitchers fly across the country. Only Temminck's Stint and Long-toed Stint sport yellow legs. Other features include the slightly decurved bill, again a complete breast band but mostly grey. In a way, this bird reminds of a Common Sandpiper that is squeezed into Calidrid proportions. Also, notice the longer tail. Where Baird's Sandpiper has wing tips projecting beyond the tail and Little Stint has wing tips just reaching the tail tip, this bird has a tail which projects further than the wing tips.

Bird 4
Image
Long-toed Stint - Identified correctly by 8/12. YELLOW LEGS! What did I say about yellow legs? And notice how these legs are even more noticably yellow than the Temminck's Stint. Obviously the toe length is never going to be of much use with a bird that spends its life wading but this is a very long-legged bird, especially the tibia. Notice on this bird, at least the right leg which is nicely extended, how long that tibia is. It also has a somehwat longer neck than other stints. If the Temminck's Stint is a Common Sandpiper squeezed into Calidrid proportions, the Long-toed Stint is a Wood Sandpiper squeezed into Calidrid proportions. Another feature that is also useful is the yellowish base of the lower mandible.

Bird 5
Image
Little Stint - Identified correctly by 5/12. This bird is pretending hard to be a Long-toed Stint but if you notice the black legs and that it is in pretty much the same plumage as bird 2, you will notice that it's just a Little Stint doing some stretches.

Bird 6
Image
Broad-billed Sandpiper - Identified correctly by 10/12. The mantle and scapulars of this bird reminds of Little Stint but notice the longer bill that has a slight droop at the tip and the double supercilium. These are strong features of Broad-billed Sandpiper.

Bird 7
Image
Little Stint - Identified correctly by 8/12. OK, now we're looking at an adult in worn non-breeding plumage. This is as colourless as they come. Notice though how the bird is showing all shades of grey (am I counting 50?) but not really any shades of brown as would be expected on Baird's Sandpiper. An important feature to notice with this plumage is the pattern on the scapulars and secondaries. Notice how the feather is mostly grey with a black shaft and white fringe (although much of the white fringe is lost due to the feathers being quite worn). Importantly though, around that black shaft, there is a darker wash to the feather, almost like the colour is running. Now, hold that thought and let's move on to the next bird.

Bird 8
Image
Red-necked Stint - Identified correctly by 5/12. Again we have a bird in non-breeding plumage but look at those tertials now. Again, they're mostly grey with a black shaft but the black shaft is much cleaner and neater now, not really much a of a dark smudge around the shaft to speak of. It's also a slightly shorter legged bird with slightly longer wings which gives it a different "outline" than Little Stint but these features are really very subtle and I suspect few birders in the country are really ready to pick up on those in the field.

Bird 9
Image
White-rumped Sandpiper - Identified correctly by 6/12. Don't let the scruffy appearance on the back throw you off. This is a bird that's starting to moult into breeding plumage. Notice the streaking on the flanks though, which is rather unique to this species, again very long wings which project well beyond the tail tip, and if you look closely, a pale brown base to the lower mandible. If you were an Uruguayan birder, you'd probably not be so much concerned with separating this bird from Little Stint but rather from Baird's Sandpiper (which is actually very similar). The stronger supercilium and the streaked flanks would be useful in that regard.

Bird 10
Image
Little Stint - Identified correctly by 3/12. This is what bird 7 should look like in another few weeks. It's a late non-breeding bird that's showing the first rufous fringed feathers of its breeding plumage. Again, notice how the non-breeding feathers have smudged black shafts to the otherwise grey feathers. Structurally, the bird has that typical plump appearance of Little Stint.

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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 1:05 pm 
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Thanks for the answers Deefstes.
I learn a lot.

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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 1:14 pm 
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Thank you for the answers and explanations Deefstes! I have all the names and more, but at the wrong pictures. :doh:

Enjoy your Birding Big Day 2013! :dance: :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 2:24 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Thank you for the answers Deefstes. That was harsh putting up 4 photos of little stints :naughty: No wonder I was so confused. :? :wall:

Hilda, like you I had the right bird but with the wrong picture :doh: After this challenge we can only do better :gflower:

Tinkerbird -WOW :dance: You obviously know your birds!

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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 2:45 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 14, 2013 1:53 pm
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This was a tough challenge but enjoyed it (-: Thanks!!
Now I actually just have to see and identify a little stint in real life. (sure i've seen one before just never bothered to identify it).

Looking forward to the next one


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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 7:57 pm 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
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The same wader has three or four different feather patterns and if bills and legs are alike of three different species it is guessing work :wall: :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 9:27 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Surprising how little we know, eh? :hmz:

Good luck to everyone for BBD! :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:26 pm 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Location: Chasing down the rarities
Unfortunately I have very little time to spare on birding at the moment as we have entered crazy season at work. I simply had no time to focus to much on this challenge, but here are 5 birds to hopefully test your skill.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Good luck!

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Latest Lifer(s): White-winged Flufftail, Dickinson's Kestrel, Senegal Coucal, Three-banded Courser, African Broadbill, Thrush Nightingale, Rufous-bellied Heron.

Follow me as I bird on Twitter @wildtuinman


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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 5:11 am 
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Thank you for the new challenge Wildtuinman! :dance: :dance:

All participants, please note that Challenge #47/2013 will be posted by Johan van Rensburg on Friday, 29 November 2013. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 6:35 am 
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#46 3/5 for me :dance:


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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 7:59 am 
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3/5 for me! Yay!


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