Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

No it really is a bird. The question is, what kind of bird is it exactly?

I took the photograph back in February at Plettenberg Bay in South Africa, but it was only when I was tidying up the photo that realised it had a metal tag round its leg. (You will have to enlarge the shot to see it.)

That’s what set me off wondering what sort of bird it was because presumably the only reason they are ringed is for scientific purposes.

So I dug out our copy of Birds of Southern Africa, a weighty ‘pocket’ book of some 450 pages, but like every other nature guide I’ve ever owned, the illustrations never seem to quite match the thing you’re looking at to make a positive identification.

Having read the section on coastal birds, I am confident that I could hazard a guess that it is a Shearwater, but then I’m no twitcher. But if Shearwater is the ‘make’, I’m unsure of the ‘model’.

There are Great, Little and Streaked, Ballearic and Manx, or Cory’s or Audubon’s to choose from and I haven’t a clue. So if anyone can enlighten me, I would appreciate it.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

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