Challenge 49 Answers
Thanks for all the entries guys and gals. I received 13 entries in total, 5 of whom got all 10 correct. Well done gatita, hilda, JvR, Dabchick and Glasogie.
The average score was an impressive 8.7/10!I will have to say that the effort that is going into these challenge identifications these days and the kind of scores I'm seeing with challenges posing some real tricky birds, is lightyears ahead of what it was when I started being involved in setting challenges some years ago. Again, well done.
Unfortunately though I will now have to retire from these challenges as I'm just not getting everything done and to to these challenges justice requires a fair bit of time and effort - not to mention that I'm not even a bird photographer and have to scrounge around for pics. It was fun though and I always enjoy seeing people learn. Hit me up on Facebook and feel free to ask if you have ID questions. I'll be more than happy to point you in the direction of the ID experts
But so, let's get on with the answers.Bird 1Southern Giant Petrel
- Correctly identified by everybody. Of course the greenish bill tip separates it from Northern GP.Bird 2Pomarine Jaeger
- Correctly identified by 11/13. Even thought the spatules in the central tail feathers are missing, there are a number of features to set it apart from other jaegers, notably the very prominent white wing flashes and the barring on the flanks and undertail coverts.Bird 3Great Shearwater
- Correctly identified by 12/13. Separated from other shearwaters by the dark cap and "dirty" belly.Bird 4White-faced Storm Petrel
- Correctly identified by everyone. Of course this would be a whopper mega rarity if it were to show in SA waters so I'm glad to see that you are all ready for it :-)Bird 5White-chinned Petrel
- Correctly identified by 11/13. Illustrations in most field guides suggest that the bird always has a white chin but that is vary variable and the text would usuallly indicate that the white chin can be absent - as is the case here. The structure of the compound bill, the white colour of it with black lines between the sections and the black "saddle" is diagnostic though.Bird 6Antarctic Petrel
- Correctly identified by 12/13. Another super rarity and again you seem to be ready for it. The brown plumage with large white panels is of course very unique and only superficially similar to Pintado Petrel.Bird 7Soft-plumaged Petrel
- Correctly identified by 12/13.The dark collar is of course a very good feature here.Bird 8Southern Royal Albatross
- Correctly identified by 11/13. The white on the upper wings and black line along the cutting edge of the bill separates it from Northern Royal Albatross and the greater extent of feathering at the base of the lower mandible separates it from Wandering Albatross. Another interesting feature than separates this bird from Wandering Albatross is the nostril that points forward as opposed to angled downward. This feature can only be seen at very close range though but it shows in this pic.Bird 9South Polar Skua
- Correctly identified by 7/13. This seems to have been the stumper of the week. The most noticeable difference with the far more common Subantarctic Skua is the paler plumage, but specifically how the paler body contrast with the darker wings. Subantarctic Skua is pretty much the same shade of darker brown all over. Even the dark morph of South Polar Skua should show that contrast between the body colour and the wing colour.Bird 10Wilson's Storm Petrel
- Correctly identified by 11/13. White in the upper wing separates it from European Storm Petrel while the square as opposed to forked tail separates it from Madeiran.