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Saturday, 30 May 2009

Valuable Pratincole comment from finder of first Sussex Oriental


I see on your blog you are asking for views on the Pagham bird

I don't normally wade in on identification issues where I have not seen the bird in question and also have no particular expertise but as I found the Oriental at Pevensey Levels, East Sussex in 1993 I became particularly interested in this difficult pair and the follow up literature.

In all the discussions on Surfbirds/Birdforum/your blog I have been surprised that no one has mentioned the very comprehensive paper by Driessens and Svensson in Dutch Birding vol 27 (pp 1-35) where they discuss the difficulties at length and examine new characters. In the following paper Driessen also looks at the Afrotropical Collared Pratincole which apparently is more like Oriental and could occur here (?).

When I found the Pevensey bird the most useful feature I noticed, although I did not realise its value at the time, was the extent (or lack of ) red on the underside of the bill when the bird looked upwards. I would expect those who know how to enlarge some of the excellent photos taken should be able to check features such as this.

Hope this is of some use

Robert Edgar