• 26th February 2000, Wollongong, NSW Pelagic Trip Report

    Report prepared by P.J. Milburn

    Conditions:

    Departed at 07:10 am and returned at approx.17:00 pm.
    Sea Conditions: Calm initailly with a slight NE swell. Later NE 1 to 1.5m on a 2m swell.
    Weather: Glorious! Warm and humid; full subshine all day. Air temperature 18 to 27 C.
    Wind: Slight early, rising to 15 NE later
    Water temperature: 18.0 to 23.5 degrees C.
    Primary chumming location: 3426' - 15124', 26 NM east of Wollongong

    Summary:

    After 4 days of NE winds we were hoping for some nice visitors from the tropics. At 6 NM out of the harbour we encountered some passerines, Willie Wagtail 2 & Welcome Swallow 2. After a fairly slow start we encountered a STREAKED SHEARWATER at the continetal shelf break. Good views were obtained and with rising spirits we headed east. Great-winged Petrel numbers were very low and apart from the occasional Long-tailed Jaeger nothing but the usual species were observed. Sooty Tern numbers had been very high on recent trips but now this species was conspicuous by its absence.

    The water had a greenish tinge and I began to worry that the birds were not going to be in our area on the day. A Flesh-footed Shearwater tangled itself in the trolling line and, as we stopped the boat to untangle it, the birds came in to investigate the stationary fishing boat. Phil Hansbro shouts BROWN NODDY.... brief views as the FFSW sinksits ungues into my thumb. I regain control of the biting shearweater as a very loud shout of TAHITI PETREL goes up. The FFSW sinks its bill into the exact same spot on my left thumb as I drop some minced shark liver into the ocean. The Tahiti Petrel came right onto our berley and sat on the water a number of times..... brilliant views for all. The FFSW was now in a box and even I manage some photos! Some observers had to be restrained! I was disappointed that nobody jumped in to celebrate... FFSW was forgiven for its indiscretion, banded and released to be entangled another day.

    Drifting in 500Fm depth of water for over an hour yielded distant views of a WHITE-NECKED PETREL which refused to come in close to investigate our berley trail. An additional 4 BROWN NODDY stayed with us for a while as we drifted. Several shearwaters and Great-winged Petrels were captured, banded and released by the SOSSA group.

    Our day was not over! On the return trip we encountered 2 BROWN NODDY and 4 SOOTY TERN at the edge of the continetal shelf and amazingly 6 NM out of the harbour we encountered a mixed group which included 1 STREAKED SHEARWATER, 1 WHITE-NECKED PETREL and at least 6 Long-tailed Jaeger. This WHITE-NECKED PETREL gave us good views to enjoy.

    Birds recorded:Species code: Species name: Numbers: (Note: numbers in parenthesis = highest count at any one time)

    005 Little Penguin Eudyptula minor 2 (1)
    073 Great-winged Petrel Pterodroma macroptera gouldi 30 (20)
    774 White-necked Petrel P. cervicalis 2 (1)
    920 Tahiti Petrel Pseudobulweria rostrata 1
    853 Streaked Shearwater Calonectris leucomelas 2 (1)
    068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus. gavia 50 (16)
    913 Hutton's Shearwater P. huttoni 15 (1)
    069 Wedge-tailed shearwater P. pacificus 500+ (300+)
    070 Sooty Shearwater P. griseus 6 (2)
    071 Slender-billed Shearwater P. tenuirostris 40 (35)
    072 Flesh-footed Shearwater P. carneipes 50 (20)
    104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 2 (1)
    981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 2 (2)
    125 Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae 300+ (300+)
    128 Arctic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus 11 (6)
    945 Pomarine Jaeger S. pomarinus 17 (8)
    933 Long-tailed Jaeger S. longicauda 9 (6)
    115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 5 (2)
    120 Sooty Tern S.fuscata 4 (4)
    122 Brown Noddy Anous stolidus 7 (4)

    Welcome Swallow 2
    Willie Wagtail 2

    20 species of seabird identified outside the breakwater.

    In the harbour:

    096 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 2
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 5

    Mammals:

    None recorded.
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