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Thread: Slender-billed Curlew, Druridge Bay now not accepted

  1. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008

    Thumbs up Slender-billed Curlews

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeEvans View Post
    Although Nigel published in haste, I believe the outcome will be the same and sensibly BBRC and BOURC will render the record as ''not proven''. Of course I did not see the bird in question (but did see its close relative next day when the shout went out and believe I did see this bird in future years at Breydon Water and elsewhere) and there will always be those that shout ''sour grapes'' but in my personal view, Slender-billed Curlew became extinct when I saw the last surviving individual at Merja Zerga (Morocco) in February 1995. How both Commiittees could accept such an incredulous UK record (of a first-summer) after such a short review period really amazed me, particularly when you consider how long it has taken to make decisions on the likes of Elegant Tern and the like. This was the most important record that both authorities were ever going to oversee and adjudicate upon and the implications of such an acceptance were huge.

    All of the published evidence supports the identification as Eurasian Curlew and there is very little to indicate a Slender-billed Curlew in a hitherto undescribed first-summer-type plumage. Although for political reasons I largely followed the status quo at the time and also 'accepted' the record, discussions that followed with various members of the Dutch Rarities Committee following the decision worried me immensely and it soon became apparent that views and opinions of those with the most experience of the species were being ignored.

    As we currently stand, the Northumberland first-summer Slender-billed Curlew is the last individual ever recorded on the planet !!
    Hi there,
    My late French colleague who worked in the USA and founded Bird Life International found a great site in Greece near the coast which is very remote a huge estuary site where there used to be many Slender-billed Curlews when I was young with Whimbrels which had different bills and not so black legs and were generally much darker with different wing markings and flight but were very jumpy and they thought at Bird Life International they must winter near Ethopia or on the central east coast of Africa as they still occur in the Sultanate of Oman where the French speaking ruler loves to encourage responsable birders to visit
    as a definite Slender-billed Curlew was sighted there recently near the coast in an estaury system in a remote area and the members of the Sultanate of Omans enthusiastic team of naturalists like to ensure birders don't go there to disturb the birds in sensitive areas as even the residents get told off for disturbing all the rare birds there so there was a definite one there recently but transport is poor to get to good birding areas but birders are welcome by the Government and the Sultan himself likes to encourage ecotourists if they get permission to go to areas good for ecology often near the coast and don't disturb all the birds but getting around is difficult as the country is full of wildlife as it is often still very undeveloped thankfully. Greece still gets the odd record with one a few years ago photographed there in a huge remote area on passage and there can be runt Curlews which resemble them like the Druridge bay bird but in flight they are obviously marked on th wings with different markings including pale wings with dark ended primaries compared to the many Whimbrels and odd runt Curlews which can be variable like the many races of Whimbrel including the 'new' species hudsonicus with warm uniform buff underwings which I saw in Brittany a few years ago in the southern-western tip at the southern tip of the Baie d'Audierne where the Bee-eaters nest every year nearby at Pointe de la Torche and Lescors marsh to the west of Penfoulic at:- Pointe de Penmars is superb for watching cetaceans and seawatching in August near the lighthouse where I saw a Hudsonian Whimbrel in August Aquatic Warbler ringing a few years ago.
    Kind regards,
    bertram.E.B.BREE in sunny mild Jersey near Guernsey where a Black-browed Albatross was seen last weeek off the west coast.

  2. #12
    Moderator Brian S's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Suffolk, UK



    You obviously have great insider knowledge here, but i can't find any claims of Slender-billed Curlew in Oman more recently than 1999. Can you enlighten us further?

    see post 5 here -

    Brian S

  3. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Norfolk, UK


    Hi Bertram

    And more information on this too?

    Greece still gets the odd record with one a few years ago photographed there in a huge remote area on passage

  4. #14
    Senior Member forktail's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007


    Hi fellas,

    I am sure all of these later records - including 5 in Hortobagy area of Hungary in 2002 are what we would label 'unverified'. As far as I am aware, the last two 'verified' records - and I'm not sure how much trust I'd put in them without seeing some very convincing evidence - are from Oman in Feb 1999 and August 1999, sandwiching a record from Greece in April 1999.
    OBC John Peel Awesomeness
    The little things they make me so happy, all I want to do is live by the sea...

  5. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Little Chalfont



    I haven't got my SBC file to hand at present but I am sure I looked at these records you cited and found them to be incorrectly identified - or certainly not proven. I also remember a claim of a flock of 17 or 18 birds with photograph which were also misidentified and several other claims in more recent years relating to Eurasian or Orientalis Curlews. Bertram is correct in saying that the Evros Delta was once an excellent wintering site for SBC but this was decades ago - certainly within my formulative birding years post 1977. They also used to appear infrequently at a great place I used to visit - Porto Lagos in Greece - as well as a superb wetland site near Lefkimni (long since drained and made obsolete). The most memorable birds though were the regular flock wintering alongside the shanty town at Merja Zerga - often affording excellent views as they fed with Black-tailed Godwits in the wild flower-rich lakeside fields. A fading memory now and sadly, African Marsh Owl seems to be heading the same way.
    Last edited by LeeEvans; June 4th, 2012 at 12:42 AM.

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