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Can someone explain the black patch on the left underwing? Also, what is the strange projection by that wing, above the tail. It doesn't seem to fit with the angle of the underwing. Something about it looks odd, to me! I'm not convinced the bill is that dagger-like, either.
Probably missing something, as usual! ;)
My Flickr photos...
Manx Shearwaters breed as far north as Shetland in the UK, as do Gannets, so Forvie is not too far for either of the species being suggested. But as Sooty Shearwaters also occur past Aberdeenshire, and they breed in the South Atlantic, the location is not a particularly relevant factor in the identification of this seabird photo taken in October.
The key factors are the structure and shape of the bird, along with some of the plumage characters.
Manx Shearwaters usually occur further out to sea and are only caught over the shore in extremely stormy conditions; while young inexperienced Gannets are found inshore more regularly.
Another feature in this photo which clearly points to this not being a shearwater is the bow visible in the wings; those of a shearwater are 'stiff-winged' and usually appear flat.
Manx Shearwaters are relatively small seabirds and do not have bulky bodies like the Gannet shown in this photo.
Another plumage feature which this photo shows which is not consistent with Manx Shearwater is the white trailing edge to the tip of the right wing. Such white tips are found in juvenile Gannets.
The trailing white edge to the right wing tip is actually the sea visible behind the bird, isn't it?!
I am struggling with this one. Gannet is the obvious answer, but the bill and 'face' does not actually look right and I am still very confused by the black (shadow?) and the shape of the back wing.
Orphys - its useful to consider whether this might be the sea behind the curved wing rather than pale feather tips; but the sea appears darker just at the horizon.
For the last few weeks ther have been large numbers of juvenile Gannets feeding in the Moray Firth - not far as a Gannet flies from Forvie. Many of them have only just fledged.
Just so that I know I am not going mad, can someone who has agreed tell me what the black on the apparent underwing is? Am I seeing it wrong? I am genuinely confused by the whole appearance of that far wing!
The black patch is caused by the underwing coverts of the primaries - if you look at some of the photos in the most recent 'other observations' you will see black underwing coverts in some of the other (older) immature birds
Fair enough...Thanks, David. I had not realised that they could be that clear cut.
From the photo it's difficult to tell. I just thought I'd raise the possibility.
Pale shafts to primaries?
Lat/Lng: 57.3261, -1.968
OS grid ref: NK020261
Seen flying south over the surf