To: Roger McGovern <>, 'Sonja Ross' <>, 'Mick Roderick' <>
From: Nikolas Haass <>
Date: Sun, 10 Nov 2013 21:54:30 -0800 (PST)
Hi Roger,

I agree, I would not call it a 'given' either and certainly greater scientific 
evidence would be needed. However, it is interesting and somewhat suggestive 
(but not a proof) that these pristine-plumaged and dark-headed juveniles show 
up from August - at a time point when steadi leave their nests and start to 
wander around. Apparently, that late in the year, juvenile cautaalready look 
paler-headed and their plumage is not as pristine anymore. But again, greater 
scientific evidence would be very welcome!



Nikolas Haass

Brisbane, QLD

 From: Roger McGovern <>
To: 'Nikolas Haass' <>; 'Sonja Ross' <>; 
'Mick Roderick' <> 
Cc: 'birding-aus' <>; 'Hal Epstein' 
Sent: Monday, November 11, 2013 3:26 PM
Subject: RE: [Birding-Aus] SYDNEY PELAGIC TRIP REPORT - NOVEMBER 10, 2013

Just a couple of comments on Mick’s and Nikolas’s postings.
Mick points out correctly that White-capped and Shy Albatross are split in 
Birdlife Australia’s Working List of Australian Birds but they are not split in 
the BARC checklist which follows IOC taxonomy. As I understand it (and I am not 
involved so may be wrong) BARC adopted IOC taxonomy for the reasons cited in 
the past by Tony Palliser but Birdlife Australia has chosen subsequently to use 
the Birdlife international taxonomy  which renders the two checklists 
incompatible. Perhaps Tony Palliser and/or somebody from Birdlife Australia 
could throw some light on how this will play out since they should surely be 
All the points raised by Nikolas and Mick regarding identifying adult and 
juvenile White-capped Albatross versus Shy Albatross were again hashed over by 
David James and myself on the boat on Saturday. Even the ‘given’ that pristine 
dark-headed juvenile  birds must be steadi is, I believe, something that is 
only supposition due to the disparity in the breeding seasons of the two taxa 
and surely needs some greater scientific evidence to become a proven 
identification feature in the field?
From:Nikolas Haass  
Sent: Monday, 11 November 2013 1:52 PM
To: Sonja Ross; Mick Roderick
Cc: birding-aus; Roger McGovern; Hal Epstein
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] SYDNEY PELAGIC TRIP REPORT - NOVEMBER 10, 2013
Hi guys,

One interesting personal observation is that during our August/September 
Eaglehawk Neck pelagics (2011, 2012 & 2013) the vast majority of adult Shy 
Albatross had bright yellow bases of the culminicorn, suggesting that they all 
- not surprisingly - were cauta, which breeds 'just around the corner'. 
Interestingly, during our Wollongong and Sydney pelagics in the same season 
(i.e. just one or two weeks before or after the above-mentioned TAS pelagics), 
the majority of adult(ish) Shy-type Albatross did not show this field mark. 
This - together with the tracking data mentioned by Mick 
( - could indicate that most of the 
NSW birds in August/September are steadi. 
An alternative - less likely? - explanation is that only the sexually active 
(hormone levels) Shy Albatross return to TAS and hence are the brightest. So, 
we only get 'dull adult' cauta in NSW?
In favour of the first hypothesis is that from August we also get the pristine 
dark-headed juvenile steadi in NSW (as mentioned by Mick, too).
And yes, it would be great if the Sydney pelagic could continue! Fingers 
Nikolas Haass

Brisbane, QLD


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