To: morris <>
Subject: Re: birding-aus SEABIRD RECORDS OFF SYDNEY
From: Laurence and Leanne Knight <>
Date: Sun, 18 Jul 1999 21:10:24 +1000
morris wrote:
> Hi birders,
> Most of us like watching birds for the sake of the birds and there is no
> obligation upon us to tell anyone what we saw. However once we are
> prepared to go into print and tell "The Bird Observer" or "Birding-aus"
> or any other bird group newsletter that we have seen a certain rarity, I
> believe that if we are happy to broadcast our observation, then we
> should also take the trouble to provide a written description for others
> to determine if that is what was seen! The Blue Petrel is a case in
> point. Prior to 1999 it had only occurred in NSW on 3 occasions and all
> were beach cast and some of the specimens ended up as part of the
> collection in the Australian Museum, so that if any one has any doubt
> they can see them for themselves. However, in June & July a number of
> Blue Petrels have been claimed for pelagic trips off Sydney and
> Wollongong and from the mainland. Until today there were only
> observations to report but now I understand that a live, beach cast bird
> came into the Zoo from Newport Beach (one of Sydney's northern suburbs).
> It seems to me that if people want to tell everyone about their Blue
> Petrel (or their Antarctic Fulmar, Kerguelen Petrel etc), that the
> people willinging to broadcast what they have seen, should also be
> prepared to make a submission to a rarities committee. In 1997 (I am
> currently preparing the 1997 NSW Bird Report) much publicity was given
> to claims of a Great Shearwater off Sydney and Bulwer's Petrel seen on
> two occasions of Wollongong, which would first records for NSW for the
> species. It now appears that no submissions were made to either the
> NSWORAC or the BARAC for these birds, and I am am left with the
> difficult task of deciding what do with the records because there is no
> submission, photos, notes etc of the observations. In both cases they
> will be treated as "unconfirmed" because there is no information for the
> records to be treated otherwise. Which brings me to Edwin Vella
> reporting on what his mate (in isolation) has seen off Long Reef.  If
> his mate is happy to claim on Birding-aus that he has seen a very rare
> seabird, will his mate be making a submission to a rarties committee
> with notes, photographs, sketches etc?

It all comes down to how much time and effort people want to put into
their reporting.  I think a lot of people make a lot of useful
observations, but they are not willing [or able] to jump through all the
hoops of photographs, sketches and highly detailed notes.

I would suggest, however that the rarities committee would do well to
create a "where there is smoke there is fire" file into which
"unconfirmed" sightings go.  [If nothing else, it would suggest areas
that are worth following up.]  

Most of us have seen birds well outside of their "official ranges", and
if you have a lot of people reporting sightings of a particular species
but there are only a few "official" sightings then that says something
about the system.

Regards, Laurie.

To unsubscribe from this list, please send a message to

Include ONLY "unsubscribe birding-aus" in the message body (without the

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU