Albatross!.....But which species?
Right - Photo 2
Above - Photo 1
Below- Photo 4
Left - Photo 3
29 November 2004 (amendments December 2004, January 2005, February 2005 - see next page)
This albatross was photographed at 1721.8'S, 07225.8'W. At the time I shouted 'young Grey-headed Albatross', then realised where we were though heading south we were still in Peruvian waters! It would be quite a record from here, especially in November (Austral Spring). Do they ever get this far north? I started to question my original identification, when later in the day John Sparks produced the photographs above to show us they came as a surprise, and we thought would solve the riddle. They have actually deepened the discussion, made for some terrific interchange of opinions and experience, and led to the identification of this bird becoming even more intriguing!  

All observers at the time said the bill was all black - one later thought there may have been the signs of a lighter ridge developing along the culmen. The photographs do seem to show this, though the photographer believes this was due to light. At no time was the underwing seen.

So, which albatross is this? I posted the question, with a link to this webpage, onto three Newsgroups (Pelagics, Seabird, I-D Frontiers) and sent the photos to seabirders and biologists around the world.
To see how the debate evolved and to see the ANSWER to this mystery bird