Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Seawatching on a whale tour from Sydney

This may not have been a pelagic, but for a birder on his first visit to the southern hemisphere it was still a great experience. While we were searching for the tell tale signs of whales, a casual remark by a crew member to say that he may have seen a blow just left of that albatross alerted me to the fact that my number 1 target species was nearby. I saw it immediately, a huge  bird with black upper wing and white body, clearly an albatross, but which species? I think that it is a black-browed albatross, but am open to suggestions.
There were hundreds of shearwaters around, and I managed to succesfully identify three species, wedge-tailed, short-tailed and fluttering. An unexpected bonus was two Australasian Gannets.

Black-browed albatross. I have seen one before, sitting on a cliff in amongst the Gannet colony on Unst, Shetland, but I didn't see that bird fly and I desperately wanted to see a "mollyhawk" in the southern oceans. Fantastic bird!

Look at those wings! Definitely made for gliding!

I think that the dark underwing makes this an immature bird and I think they more or less rule out every species except black-browed.

Fluttering shearwater

Short-tailed shearwater

Wedge-tailed shearwater

Welcome swallow

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