Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Chatham Albatross on Eaglehawk Neck Pelagic

Report from Els Wakefield:
The pelagic trip, led by Dan Mantle from Canberra, left Pirates Bay (Eaglehawk Neck) and headed straight to the Continental Shelf drop off on board the Pauletta. Many of the birders on board had made hundreds of trips, but declared Saturday's (3rd September) the best ever with a huge variety of birds and great viewing conditions. The highlight of the day caused a rush to the side of the boat. It was what we call a "lifer", as nobody on board had seen it before and it was Tasmania's first record ! I understand that 2 or 3 have been recorded off the Australian mainland. The bird was a Chatham Albatross (Thalassarche eremita), previously considered a form of Shy Albatross (Thalassarche cauta), commonly seen in Tasmanian waters.
It's a handsome bird, with grey head and neck and an enormous yellow-orange bill. Some called it 'banana-bill bird'. As it appeared in the distance little did we realise that it would come right up to the stern of the boat, enabling all to ID it and take photographs.
A similar trip the following day, failed to locate the bird.


Murray Lord said...

Alan, per discussion on birding-aus there have been a couple of other Tasmanian records:

1) An adult was present in the colony at Albatross Island from Jan 83 to 1986. A photo of this bird is published in Lindsey

2)A different adult was present in the Albatross Island colony from 1985 until Sept 1994.

3) Tim Reid and David James saw an adult near The Mewstone off southern Tasmania in Feb 1995.

BirdingTas said...

Hi Murray,
I have been following the discussion on birding-aus, and in the fullness of time, intended to amend Els' report. You beat me to it! I did feel that the 'collection' of pelagic records did appear to be somewhere between ad hoc and chaotic. I have asked B Tas for an uptodate list of all Tasmanian birds (mainly interested in land birds), but so far (2 years or so later), still don't have one. There appears to be too many "fingers in the pie".