Shearwater sp

Shearwater sp

On Wednesday evening at about 5.30pm, I was seawatching from Po Toi when I saw an approaching shearwater/petrel.

From the flight - leisurely flap flap and glide - I knew this was not a Short-tailed Shearwater. The bird was flying into an east force 3 wind. Through binoculars I thought it was a Bulwer's Petrel but with a telescope I could see it was pale underneath and under the wings. I started taking photos.

Here are 10 photos of the bird. Note, they are taken at extreme range, maybe 1000 metres - it is a tribute to Canon photographic systems that they show any detail at all. On Po Toi, I have no boat to chase seabirds, you have to take them as they come.


The bird seemed quite large - longer winged than a Short-tailed Shearwater. Some of the photos show a dark head which would eliminate Streaked Shearwater and I never considered this at the time because I was going backwards from an all dark bird to a dark bird with pale underparts so the head must have appeared dark to me. I thought it might be a pale or intermediate phase Wedge-tailed Shearwater.

Can anyone make anything from them?

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 21/09/2010 18:18 ]


that is some distance away!! It is definately too pale for Short-tailed and Sooty (Have Sooty been recorded in HK??). So, looking through other species of shearwaters, only Buller's (Don't think they are recorded in HK either), Wedge-tailed and Streaked have paler underparts.

Looking at photos, these are the information they gave me:

Buller's - Got an "M" shaped pattern on it's back, it also got a very pale underwing, which as I can see both features are not presented on this bird.

Wedge-tailed - Pale Morph have darker grey-brown plumage on back, head and upperwing, underpart is pale. Medium coverts and primaries underwings are darker. This matches certain features shown by this bird in the photo; dark upperbody and slightly darker underwing.

Streaked - Largest of these three, have slightly similar colourations and undering pattern with Wedge-tailed, with slightly paler underwing, though at this distance it certainly can be mixed up. Have pale forehead, which I can't really tell clearly if there is or not in these photos...But head looks dark in a few photos.

So, I am leaning towards Wedge-tailed. But they are really too far to judge for me...pretty impressive photos for such great distance though!! :shock:

Will love to hear some more from real experts... ops:

As The Crow Flies- a Hong Kong Birding Blog