Black Petrel off the BARC Review List

To: <>
Subject: Black Petrel off the BARC Review List
From: "Brent Stephenson" <>
Date: Tue, 4 Jun 2002 14:45:49 +1200
Andrew and Birding-Ausers,

My intention was not to make judgements about the motivations and
abilities of birders in Australia.  Australian birding and
identification has quite obviously come a long way in the last 15 years,
this goes with out saying.

However, from an 'outsider' looking in perspective, surely the length of
time it takes between submitting a report to being accepted/rejected is
nothing more than a minor inconvenience, if the observer is confident
about the birds' identification, and reports it as such in trip reports?
As a birder wanting to qualify their records surely a little
exasperation at reporting birds over and over again (how many times?)
can be contained?

It just seems the species has been dropped far too early, as the feeling
I got from Tony's email (snippet below) was that this bird was still
very rarely seen during the summer months off NSW, and it appeared that
Oct, Nov and Dec 2000 had been an extraordinary event.  A quick search
of the BIRDING-AUS archive came up with four separate reports of Black
petrel since mid-2000, obviously these are not all occurrences of the
species, but suggested to me that they are not common enough to be

A quick look at the BARC website shows that -

4.5 Species averaging greater than 1.5 records per year, with sightings
in at least seven years of the preceding decade, shall be removed from
the Review List by a majority vote of the Committee.

4.6 A decline in reported abundance to a level corresponding with that
defined in paragraph 4.4, may cause a species to be returned to or
placed on the Review List by a decision of the Committee.

Has this been reached for this species?  If not then how can it be
removed or should the rules be amended?

Correspondingly, the problem is then when do you put the species back on
the list?  This difficulty has arisen in the UK, where species have
occurred commonly and have been dropped from the reportable list, only
to then fall back into the rare category, without being noticed.
Placing them back on the list (and assessing and monitoring this) seems
much harder than actually taking them off.  Can't there be an
intermediate stage between full submission of reports that go around the
Committee and completely dropping it from the list? 

I'm sorry if I stepped on anyone's toes....not my intention!


<Black Petrel is a very rare visitor to NSW coastal waters between
October <and February and has in recent years been reported annually in
November <from Wollongong and Sydney.  In fact between October &
December 2000 I <recall up to 12 sightings that may have involved as
many as 10-12 separate <individuals.  

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