Unidentified/unknown species

To: <>
Subject: Unidentified/unknown species
From: "Mark Clayton" <>
Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2006 15:54:42 +1000

Hi all,


Phillip Winn’s record of an unidentified gull (possibly a Laughing Gull) in Torres Strait raises the interesting question of just what do you do with records like this. Probably the best thing is to try and alert the ornithological community at large that something unusual about in the hope that someone can get there in time to verify the record and possibly add another species to their Australian list. You only have to look at what happened with the Grey-headed Lapwing at Barron Junction to see how many people will chase up vagrants (I refuse to use the term “rarities” as most of these records are of species that are not rare). The major group to contact is probably Birding-Aus, followed by the various state or regional groups such as ours. If you don’t know the address of groups like Birding-Aus sent the message to one you do know with a request to pass it on to others. We are already doing something similar when we post observations of species such as Regent Honeyeaters (now that is a rarity!) on the COG chat-line and seen the general reaction from birdos here.


By reporting these occurrences, when they are finally identified, we add to the understanding of just what is happening to Australia’s, and the World’s, birds.


This is not intended as a criticism of Phillip, in case anybody tries to read that into the message, I am, hopefully, just trying to be helpful.





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