Additions to Ocean Wanderers (up to end of 2001)

New York State Rarities
I have added photos of New York's first Hammond's Flycatcher (pending acceptance by NYSARC), and also pictures of Wood Storks from Clyde, NY and a Great White Heron from Staten Island, NY (Added 6 Nov 2001)

New York State Rarities
An Northern Wheatear at Smith's Point County Park, Suffolk County, New York on 18 September 2001. (Added 19 Sept 2001)

Shorebird Identification
A probable Pacific Golden-Plover from the Johnson Sod Farm in southern New Jersey on 8 September 2001. (Added 10 Sept 2001)

New York State Rarities
An adult Black Brant at Jamaica Bay NWR, Queens County, New York on 19 May 2001. (Added 19 May 2001)

Shorebird Identification
The occurrence of New York State's first Black-tailed Godwit has stimulated a discussion of the field identification of the three recognized subspecies: limosa, islandica and melanuroides. Photographs of the New York bird and a review of North American records is presented here. I have also put together a page of photos showing melanuroides taken in Hong Kong (Added 2 May 2001).

New York State Rarities
Here as some video captures of a first-basic Thick-billed Murre taken at Montauk Point, Suffolk County, New York on 4 Feb 2001. (Added 5 Feb 2001)

Gull Identification
I have put together a light-hearted review of the 1st North American Gull Conference hosted by the premier Canadian birding magazine 'Birders Journal' in Niagara, Ontario at the end of November 2000. (Added 5 Dec 2000)

Important Conservation News

BirdLife International has just launched an important new book entitled Threatened Birds of the World. The book reviews the number of bird species threatened with global extinction and finding a dramatic rise. Some 1,111 species were categorized as threatened in 1994 and this number has rise to 1,186 in 2000. A shocking 12% of all bird species! Seabirds, most notably albatrosses and petrels, are under particular threat from indiscriminate illegal fisheries in the Southern Ocean. Thankfully, the book is not all "doom-and-gloom" as a few species have been downgraded. For example, Short-tailed Albatross has been shifted from "Endangered" in 1994 to "Vulnerable" in 2000 due to intense conservation efforts on the Torishima and Senkaku breeding islands. Likewise, the Rarotonga Monarch and Black-faced Spoonbill, both of which were classified as "Critical", are now listed as merely "Endangered" thanks to a combination of predator control and community conservation work in Rarotonga, and habitat protection legislation in China, Taiwan, North Korea, South Korea and Japan.

Bermuda Petrel or Cahow Each of the species discussed in Threatened Birds of the World is accompanied by a photograph or painting. This really wonderful plate by Hilary Burn shows the Cahow or Bermuda Petrel (Pterodroma cahow), once an abundant nesting seabird throughout Bermuda but now classified as "Endangered". The species was thought extinct for three centuries until 18 pairs were rediscovered in 1951. Intensive management has increase this number to to an estimated 180 birds in 1997. In the past Bermuda Petrels nested in soil burrows throughout the main islands. However, it is now restricted to islands in which such habitat is not available, and thus nests in non-optimal conditions in natural erosion crevices in limestone and artificial burrows. Its drastic decline is attributed to habitat loss, exploitation and predation. Its recovery has been hampered by a number of factors, including competition from White-tailed Tropicbird (Phaethon lepturus) for nest-sites, increasing egg failure perhaps due to contaminants, light pollution from a nearby airport and NASA tracking station which adversely affect nocturnal aerial courtship, and the threat of sea-level rise and increased storm activity. Threatened Birds of the World will be published in collaboration with Lynx Edicions. (Added 12 October 2000)

Images of New York State Rarities

On Saturday 7th October 2000, Tom Burke discovered an adult Cassin's Sparrow at Jones Beach which is on the southshore of Long Island, New York. If accepted by NYSARC, this will represent the first record of this southwestern/Mexican species for the state. A few images captured from video on separate days by Seth Ausubel and myself can be found here. (Added 11 Oct 2000)

Recommended Web Sites

Mitch Heindel has posted a number of seabird photos take off southern California. The shots of aberrant (leucistic) Black-vented Shearwaters are particularly interesting. (Added 10 Oct 2000)

Recommended Web Sites

The Norwegian Gull Site has been revamped. Check out the very attractive new the layout as well as the latest photo additions. (Added 6 Oct 2000)

Recommended Web Sites

The enormous popularity of bird watching in Japan seems to be a well kept secret due, no doubt, to the language barrier and the fact that few western birders can afford the considerable expense of a visit to the Japanese archipelago. Bird photography is especially popular (perhaps more so than in Europe or North America), and there are now masses of web sites and magazine that publish bird photos. Below I provide links to three particularly noteworthy sites that focus on gulls and shorebirds.

First the Japanese Gull Site Home of Osao Ujihara and Michiaki Ujihara, author/artists of the excellent but hard to obtain, "Japanese Gull Guide". Unfortunately the main text of this extensive web site is in Japanese, however, photograph captions are generally in English with dates and locality. In summary, this site represents the most comprehensive collection of asiatic gull photos on the web and includes an amazing number of outstanding rarities for Japan. (Added 29 September 2000)

Second StintFan - Homepage for shorebirders An excellent Japanese-based site dedicated to calidrid shorebirds. Superb photos of asiatic and North American species, many as rarities to Japan. Includes such delights as Spoon-billed Sandpiper. Unfortunately limited use of English text at the moment, however the photos themselves are labeled with species location and date. This site should prove an extremely useful reference source. (Added 29 September 2000)

And thirdly, Gallinago@web This curious name says it all! An unparalleled collection of photos of various snipe species occuring in Japan. Given the secretive and wary nature of this group, the consistent quality of the photos is astounding! (Added 29 September 2000)

New York State Rarities

Rex Stanford has generously supplied a series of photographs of an alternate-plumaged Little Stint photographed on 16 July 2000 at Pike's Beach on the south shore of Long Island, New York, USA. These provide interesting comparison to the Red-necked Stint photographed at the same location the day before! (Added 12 August 2000).

Albatross Photos

Murray Lord has generously provided a couple of excellent in-flight photos of a first-year Grey-headed Albatross taken off Sydney, Australia, earlier this month. (Added 27 July 2000).

New York State Rarities

A small number of videograbs of an alternate-plumaged Red-necked Stint found three days earlier by John Fritz at the beach community of Cupsogue on the south shore of Long Island, NY. (Added 15 July 2000).

Recommended Web Sites

Check out, an exciting new birding web site created by Martin Birch, Ken Arber, Andy Birch, Cin-Ty Lee and Brian Small. This fledgling site is already packed with interesting features on bird idenfication, European and North American rarities, original artwork etc. (Added 10 July 2000)

The New York State Avian Records Committee (NYSARC) web site now has a gallery of rare birds photographed in New York State. Check back regularly as many new additions are planned. This site is part of the larger Federation of New York State Bird Clubs site. (Added 10 July 2000).

Shorebird Identification

Continuing debate on the very interesting calidrid sandpiper photographed in Texas in April. I have added comments from birders in both North America and Europe as well as several photos of Curlew Sandpipers including a series taken at Cley in England by Richard Millington. (Added 10 July 2000)

Shorebird Identification

Brian Small send me a photograph of a rather interesting calidrid sandpiper photographed in Texas in April. There is some debate as to the age and species.

Annotated List of Seabirds

Fabio Olmos has generously supplied photos of Wandering Albatross (possibly Tristan Albatross), Spectacled Petrel and White-chinned Petrel, taken at sea off Brazil. (Added 1 May 2000)

Gull Identification

Addedtwo additional photos of the Newlyn Harbour UK Herring Gull taken by Mashuq Ahmed, showing useful detail of the spread tail. (Added 26 March 2000)

Gull Identification

Pictures of a possible 2nd-year American Herring Gull photographed in England by Jim Willson together with a series of comparison shots from the day before taken in New York, USA. (Added 24 March 2000)

Seabird Literature

I have added an on-line review of the two major photoguides to seabirds: Peter Harrison's (1997) "Seabirds of the World - A Photographic Guide" and Jim Enticott and David Tipling's (1997) "Seabirds of the World: the Complete Reference". This review was originally published in the January and February 1998 editions of the Linnaean Society of New York News-Letter.

Gulls from a European perspective!

Norwegian Gull page A growing collection of predominantly European species. Most images are from Norway or neighbouring Scandinavian countries. Includes some nice shots of birds in the hand (e.g. nominate Iceland Gull), showing specific feather details. This well-designed site has been put together by Frode Falkenberg, using work by various photographers.

Rudy Offereins' Gullindex Dutch site with a good collection of Pontic Gull (L. cachinnans) and Yellow-legged Gull (L. michahellis) photos.

Large Gull and Small Gull colour-ringing projects. Very interesting database of current tracking projects (colour rings and satellite tags). Lots of facts and figures with useful contact addresses for reporting sightings or recoveries. A large variety of gull species are covered by specific projects and this will hopefully yield a tremendous amount of useful information. So keep your eyes peeled! Created and maintained by Dirk Raes. Links from the home page to many other colour-ringing projects. The site is sponsored by AVES (Soci*t* d'*tudes ornithologiques) and by Euring. (Added 21 Feb 00)

Books on seabirds, gulls and other marine wildlife

Quite a few additions to the section on books and videos about seabirds, gulls, terns, skuas, marine mammals etc. Direct links to and (Added 12th Feb 00)

Recommended Web sites - Marine Mammals in Chile

Rodrigo Hucke-Gaete's Marine Mammal web page has many links to seal and cetacean related material. Rodrigo is a student at the Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile. The Conservation Status of Small Cetaceans in Southern South America web page for example, reviews the problems faced by small cetaceans with special emphasis on Chile. Text is accompanied by a number of illustrations. (Added 22 Jan 00)

Recommended Web sites - Alaskan seabirds and marine ecosystems

The Seabird and Forage Fish Research in Alaska web site is jam packed with interesting information and photos. There are a number of on-line essays introducing the basics of marine ecology; forage fish (prey base for many marine mammals and birds) biology; seabirds found in Alaskan waters and so on. There is also an extensive collection of links to other sites dealing with seabirds, oceanography and marine weather. The site is maintained by John Piatt of the USGS. Check it out! (Added 6th Jan 2000)

Recommended Web sites - Marine Mammals

Check out the cool Center for Cetacean Research and Conservation web site. This new site includes some fantastic underwater digital video images of Densebeaked Whales (Mesoplodon densirostris) taken off the Bahamas.

Marine mammal fans will also want to check out the Marine Mammal Net, a growing family of websites dedicated to providing accurate, up-to-date information about the science and conservation of marine mammals. Here are some of the member sites:

The International Marine Mammal Association (IMMA) web site. Full of information and links about marine mammal conservation.

The oddly named, an internet site dedicated to conservation of porpoises and other small cetaceans. The article by Heather Koopman on the physiology and function of blubber is well worth reading.

The '' 'guide to books' site. An on-line guide to current literature about marine mammals. They expect to add book reviews in the near future. The are links to and ! for easy purchase of recommended titles. (Added 21 Dec 99)

Shearwater Identification

I have compiled various postings to ID-Frontiers discussing the identification of the boydi subspecies of Little Shearwater, focusing in particular on separation from Audubon's Shearwater. (Added 21 Dec 99)

Shearwater Identification

Opinions differ on the identification of this shearwater, photographed on the edge of the Gulf Stream off Manteo, North Carolina. Comments are collected from the Pelagics newsgroup. (Added 12/9/99)

Annotated Guide to Seabirds

Added more photolinks to the Greater Shearwater and Northern Fulmar pages. (Added 12/3/99)

Photo Archive

I have added single images of adult Lava Gull and Swallow-tailed Gull, both taken in the Galapagos Islands. (Added 11/22/99)

Problem Gulls

'Problem Gulls' - possibly a redundant statement! I have added three more interesting individuals to this section.

American Herring Gull with dark tertial markings.

American Herring Gull. Strange short-legged individual.

Small Ring-billed Gull with retarded molt. (Added 11/20/99)

Photo Archive

I have added a number of small gull images including:
Common Black-headed Gull, adults,
Common Black-headed Gull, first-years,
Black-legged Kittiwake,
Mew Gull. (Added 11 Nov 99)

Photo Archive

I have reorganized the "Photo Archive Page". This is essentially a page of quick links to the many bird and marine mammal photographs scattered across the Ocean Wanderers Web Site. Over the last few weeks a number of new seabird and gull images have been added, including Bridled Tern, Northern Gannet, Sabine's Gull, Buller's Shearwater, Waved Albatross, Fork-tailed Storm-petrel, Nazca Booby and others. Please take a look! (Added 3 Nov 99)

Rarebird Gallery

Series of pictures of a second-basic Franklin's Gull from Stamford Connecticut. Taken on 31 Oct 1999. (Added 2 Nov 99)

Recommended Web sites - Update

Martin Reid has moved his superb identification web site to a new server. The gull section continues to expand. So check it out and change your bookmarks!!

Martin Reid's Gull Pages Very cool site, with a lot of gulls! Perhaps the most extensive collection of original material on the web. Detailed analysis to accompany many of the pictures and creative use of high-resolution zooms. Keep checking back for updates, as Martin is continuously adding new material. His home page with non-gull bird identification links (e.g. South American species, Masked Booby, Martin's local patch in Fort Worth, Texas, etc. etc.) is here. (Added 10/19/99)

Recommended Web sites - Pelagic Sharks

Added a couple of very good links: Ian Fergusson's Great White Shark Page, which provides a very detailed and thoughtful review of Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias) biology and conservation. Fergusson ends by saying "This is not a fish to be underestimated. It is neither a bloodthirsty, mindless killer nor a playful, good-natured puppy-dog. It is a sentient, intelligent predator deserving of our rational respect like any other potentially lethal animal. For confirmation of this, ask any fur seal...". (Added 10/11/99)

Also, added the Mediterranean Shark Site Packed with very current information about sharks. Includes discussion of identification, reports of rare species and all the latest news about shark conservation. Includes links to The Shark Trust. (Added 10/11/99)


Click here to see a whole page of images of the adult Shy Albatross seen during a Shearwater Journeys pelagic trip off Northern California on 24 August 1999. If accepted this will be the third record for North America and first for California. (Added 9/2/99)

Also check out the images of a White-faced Storm-petrel found by Brian Patteson on a 29 August 1999 pelagic out of Oregon Inlet, North Carolina. (Added 9/2/99)

Best pelagics

Illustrated account of a voyage aboard the 'World Discoverer' through the Aleutian islands from Seward, Alaska to Petropavlosk in Kamchatka. (Added 8/8/99)

Annotated List to Seabirds of the World

More additions to the procellariform (albatrosses, petrels and kin) sections. (Added 8/8/99)

Recommended Web Sites

Added link to the Environmental Research Unit Home Page. An independent organisation run by Mike Bingham, conducting seabird surveys in the Falkland Islands, focusing on Penguins and Black-browed Albatross. The site includes a very comprehensive bibliography of penguin literature and useful maps of the breeding ranges for a number of Penguin species. (Added 7/22/99)

Identification Issues

Little Egret in Delaware USA. Separation from Snowy Egret. (Added 7/21/99)

Identification Quiz

New identification quiz (#6). Possibly the hardest yet! Have a look and e-mail your answers.

Annotated List to Seabirds of the World

Many additions to the procellariform (albatrosses, petrels and kin) sections. (Added 6/27/99)

Books on oceanic seabirds and mammals

New section providing information on useful books dealing with pelagic bird and mammal watching. (Added 6/27/99)

Where to Watch Seabirds

A new feature, exploring the best locations of the planet to study and enjoy marine birds and mammals. Not all of the links are open yet as several pages are still in preparation - so check back regularly. I hope this section will grow to cover many more localities and treat the hot spots in even more depth. Any help with up-to-date information and donations of photographs will be greatly appreciated. Just email me: (

Annotated List to Seabirds of the World

A number of additions to various procellariform (albatrosses, petrels and kin) sections.

Seabird News

The June 1999 issue of Birdwatch Magazine (issue 84) reports that the recent elevation of Balearic Shearwater (Puffinus mauretanicus) to full species status has highlighted the rarity and endangered status of this new species. Breeding only within the Balearic Island group off southeastern Spain, there are an estimated 3,300 breeding breeding pairs, 75% of which are restricted to the well-known holiday ('disco') island of Ibiza. A number of Iberian conservation groups, together with the Balearic Islands Department of the Environment, have drawn up a six point-plan, involving a census of oiled birds; breeding numbers and success rates; removal of rats and cats from breeding areas; reducing poaching (in some areas locals consider the shearwaters a delicacy), generating new colonies and study of migration including the identification of wintering areas. A number of birds have been wing-tagged. Sightings are requested (Andy Paterson, Edificio San Gabriel 2-4-A, Escritor Adolfo Reyes, E-29620 Torremolinos). Check out the Balearic Shearwater web site.

New York State Rarities

Black-necked Stilts at Jamaica Bay NWR near New York City and Spruce Grouse in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York.

Recommended Web Sites

Check out trans-Gulf migration page. A great site run by Bob Russell of the Louisiana State University's Museum of Natural Science (LSUMNS), under the sponsorship of the Minerals Management Service. Dedicated to the study of bird migration across the Gulf of Mexio, focusing on observations made from oil platforms. There is a lot of migration data including dramatic accounts of major migration days as well as photos of the oil platforms, exhausted migrants, even the official counters themselves. Many links to other migration related sites. Check back for weekly summaries of the up-coming fall migration. (Added 5/25/99)

You might also want to take a look at the new shorebird Quiz on Dick and Jean Hoffman's The Shorebird Watcher site. (Added 5/25/99)

More Gull Photos

Some more pictures of first and second year Kumlien's Iceland Gull by Patrick Comins. (Added 5/8/99)

Identification Challenge

Probable adult Herring X Great Black-back Gull hybrid from Virginia (photo by Ned Brinkley) Added 4/24/99

Is this a leucistic Iceland Gull? (Added 4/20/99)

New York State Rarities

Harris's Sparrow Additional photos of this long-staying but elusive bird. (Added 4/20/99)

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