From: Tony Palliser <>
Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2000 22:49:20 +1000
Fellow birders,
A private pelagic charter of the Halicat off Sydney, NSW yesterday (Monday 9th October) produced a most unusual storm petrel. Namely one of the dark "Oceanodroma" storm petrels. Early research suggests that this bird is very likely a Tristram's Storm Petrel Oceanodroma tristrami normally residing in the Western and Central Pacific. Fortunately, the bird was very obliging and allowed many photographs and video footage to be taken at close range. So I am hopeful that we will have enough information to clench the identity of this magnificent bird and have it accepted by the Birds Australia Rarities Committee BARC.

Photographs and notes taken reveal the size to be about 50-75% larger than accompanying Wilson's Storm Petrel making this a particularly exciting bird. Other key features noted for those interested in an early description include: a very conspicuous broad buff upperwing bar stretching from the carpel to the trailing edge of the secondaries, pale buff rump, deeply forked long tail, dark sooty-brown head, greyish back, very long brown wings without obvious pale bases to the primary shafts (although the shafts were seen to be pale at extreme close range) black legs and feet and very pale edges to what I am assuming are the tertials. At this stage I feel confident that it is tristrami but more research and an accepted vote from BARC will be required before this can be added to the Australian list.

It is hoped to have a full report ready towards the end of the month which will be posted on to the pelagic web page along with some photographs.

What a bird!

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