RFI in connection with Albatross id - Salvin's or Chatham

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Subject: RFI in connection with Albatross id - Salvin's or Chatham
From: "Robert Inglis" <>
Date: Thu, 12 Dec 2002 06:21:00 +1000
Hello Pelagic Persons,

I am not a seabird 'pathetic' but I must admit that Brent Stephenson's 
excellent Diomedea cauta sp.
photos, no doubt taken with his recently acquired Canon EOS D60 digital SLR 
camera (sigh!), had me
immediately reaching for my limited collection of seabird books.

The "White-capped Albatross" has one diagnostic characteristic that sets it 
apart from all other
albatrosses and guarantees you are looking at one of the trio of Diomedea cauta 
sub-species. Just to
make it more interesting I will leave it up to the reader to check that out.
The trio consists of:
Shy Albatross, Diomedea cauta cauta
Salvin's Albatross, D. c. salvini
Chatham Island Albatross, D. c. eremita

As with so many similar situations, it would appear to a novice that it is 
relatively easy to
separate Shy from Chatham but not so easy to separate Shy from Salvin's or 
Salvin's from Chatham.
Unless you are an expert, in which case everything is 

One of my reference books is The National Photographic Index of Australian 
Wildlife volume: "The
Seabirds of Australia" published by Angus and Robinson in 1986.
Obviously this is a book of photographs with some text.
The entry for "Shy Albatross" starts on page 124 and provides a number of 
photographs of this
Unfortunately, although the text refers to the three sub-species most of the 
photos do not identify
which sub-species is being portrayed.
As most of the photos were (allegedly) taken on Albatross Is, Tasmania, I 
assume that these photos
are of D. c. cauta.
One photo taken on The Snares NZ is labelled sub-species salvini which looks to 
be correct.
However, the full-page shot on page 126 labelled 'immature' and taken on 
Albatross Is, Tasmania
a little sus to my unpracticed eye.

Is there a seabird expert out there who has a copy of this book and who can 
tell me which
sub-species this is?
Is it in fact, D. c. eremita (Chatham Is Albatross)?
There appears that there is no other photo showing this sub-species.
Is it likely that Chatham Is Albatross frequents Tasmanian islands?

What seabird reference books would the 'experts' recommend to someone on a 
limited budget?
Note: I have:
Harrison's "Seabirds" and his "Photographic Guide" as well as the above 
mentioned Australian
and "Southern Albatrosses and Petrels" by Harper and Kinsky;
as well as HANZAB.

Bob Inglis
Woody Point

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