I don't know if this counts as a beginner ID or not, but I'm having trouble identifying this Albatross I shot out the ferry window on the Foveaux Straits, New Zealand (between Stewart Island and the South Island).
This photo was taken through a spray covered, tinted window since there were 5 meter seas and a gale blowing at the time. This is the only shot I managed as the boat pitched up and down wildly. It has been cropped and the contrast increased somewhat.
I suspect it is one of these three taxa -
Northern Royal Albatross (D. sanfordi)
Southern Royal Albatross (D. epomophora)
"Gibson's" New Zealand Albatross (D. antipodensis gibsoni)
Some notes I take from the photo....
1. There are no dark vermiculations in the white areas as far as I can see.
2. I don't think there is any color in the auricular region.
3. Although I bumped the contrast to overcome the window's effect, the wing really was that dark.
4. There was a bit of dark in the tips of the tail feathers.
This may be an easy call, but I'm having trouble between the three taxa.
I'm consulting Onley and Scofield 2007. The problems I have are that
- sandfordi shouldn't show the white spots in the wing
- epomorpha shouldn't have the black tail tips
- gibsoni should have vermiculations on the back and more white in the wing
Thanks for any and all help.