To: Chris Melrose <>
From: Nikolas Haass <>
Date: Sun, 10 Nov 2013 23:05:25 -0800 (PST)
Hi Chris,

The problem with your approach is that we would possibly look at a mix of two 
taxa without knowing how to tell them apart. It would be better to study known 
populations. The issue with albatross, however, is that they wander around and 
only two age groups are easy to document: nesting adults and chicks at their 
breeding colonies. It would definitely be good to carefully photo-document any 
banded or otherwise marked bird. If it then turns out that that particular 
individual was banded as a chick on its nest, then you have proven evidence for 
the taxon and age of that individual. So you can correlate your documented 
phenotype to taxon and age. The question here is if you get enough cases to end 
up with statistically significant meaningful data.

Best wishes,

Nikolas Haass

Brisbane, QLD

 From: Chris Melrose <>
To: Nikolas Haass <> 
Cc: Roger McGovern <>; Sonja Ross <>; 
Mick Roderick <>; birding-aus <>; 
Hal Epstein <> 
Sent: Monday, November 11, 2013 4:47 PM
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] SYDNEY PELAGIC TRIP REPORT - NOVEMBER 10, 2013

Hi guys
Well we can start doing our own research, can't we? By keeping careful notes 
and photographic evidence we will start to get a clearer picture of what is 
appearing to us and when. We can become citizen scientists on our pelagic 
trips, providing there is/are experienced pelagic observers on board to guide 
us. What do you think? 

Christine Melrose

> On 11 Nov 2013, at 16:54, Nikolas Haass <> wrote:
> 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!
> Cheers,
> Nikolas
> ----------------
> 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 consistent.
> 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?
> Cheers
> Roger 
> 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 
> crossed!
> Cheers,
> Nikolas
> ----------------
> Nikolas Haass
> Brisbane, QLD
> ________________________________
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