I'm presently out in the Bass Strait surveying cetaceans and observing very
little in the way of any wildlife. However, there are a few Albatrosses
about and, being occupied with things other than birds, I am fortunate to
have the time to bring myself up to speed on ID.
I have been observing what I imagine could be Salvins Albatross but I would
appreciate some guidance. The only fieldguide I have on board is Simpson
and Day and it doesn't give any text description. What I have gleaned has
come merely from the illustration and some photos I have found on the web.
The birds I have been seeing are not that uncommon. About every 20 or so
Shys exhibit the expected charateristics. That is, they have a distinctly
darker head with a thick collar that extends around the neck. The cheeks
are also grey / brown but fade into white before the bill base. The cap is
also white. On the birds I have managed to see close up, there is no hint
of a white collar between the head and mantle. The mantle colour instead
fades into the grey/brown of the head. The upperwing colour appears to be
somewhat darker than the cauta types that I am seeing. The underwing
primaries on most birds show a fairly thick and clearly demarcated black
border, although on one bird this was not all that distinct.
The photos on the web that show adults look very different to what I am
The bottom three images of http://fog.ccsf.org/~jmorlan/salvin.htm are very
similar to what I am seeing but
http://www.focusonnature.com/Salvin'sAlbatross.htm shows a bird which has
much too much grey about the face - rather like the adult bird on T
Palliser's site. All the birds I have been seeing could not be confused
with Bullers Alabtross at all.
No doubt there are other more detailed characteristics that can be used to
separate Salvins from Shy - if indeed that is what I am seeing. I would be
grateful to receive some info so I can take a closer look in due course.
Again, in the event that these are Salvins, I'd also be interested to know
how regularly that they are normally recorded in these parts at this time
Not much more to report. Few Prions, one Short-tailed Shear, A few Great
Skuas. Pretty dull really.
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