• 26th August 2000 WOLLONGONG PELAGIC TRIP REPORT, NSW, AUSTRALIA

    Report prepared by: P.J. Milburn

    Conditions:

    Departed at 7.15 am and returned at approx.4.30 pm.
    Sea Conditions: Sea slight, 1 to 2 metres at first, dropping later. Swell
    to 2 metre, S, flattening in the afternoon
    Weather: Glorious sunshine all day. Max. 18C
    Barometeric pressure: 1004 HPa rising
    Wind: Moderate 15 to 20 kts southerly, veering westerly later.
    Water temperature 16.8 to 18.9 degrees C.
    Primary chumming location S 34 34' - E 151 17'.

    Summary:

    Spring has returned to the ocean. A large contingent of overseas visitors were treated to excellent views of our typical winter and early spring seabirds. Albatross numbers were good, although many of the adult Thalassarche have now left these waters. A few remained however and were by now in immaculate plumage...... simply breathtaking.

    We departed the harbour in a freshening southerly breeze. With a rising barometer we hoped that the winds would veer to the west keeping the sea down. Several miles out from harbour we were joined by the first Wedge-tailed Shearwaters of spring which followed us all day. One of this contingent bore a metal band but was shrewd enough to stay away from the boat, thus evading capture. A New Zealand Fur Seal and a lively pod of Common Dolphins started the excitment for the day and small numbers of both Hutton's and Fluttering Shearwaters privided some warm-up excersise for brain and cold fingers.

    Good numbers of birds attended the boat as were motored out to the shelf break but once over the continental slope bird numbers and number of species increased dramatically. At a depth of 200 fathoms screams of STOP THE BOAT greeted the passing of 2 SOFT-PLUMAGED PETREL. With numerous seabirds around us we decided to stay at this location and berely. A couple of storm-petrels and a small mixed species flock of prions soon joined us. Various pterodroma petrels investigated the boat during our stay. Additionally, a total of 10 albatross of assorted species were banded and released by the SOSSA team. The return trip into a fresh westerly wind brought us another SOFT-PLUMAGED PETREL, a Brown Skua and a Southern Giant Petrel to round off a brilliant day. Some of the typical harbour dwellers even ventured out to greet us prior to out return to port!

    Highlights:

    SOFT-PLUMAGED PETREL, WHITE-HEADED PETREL, a large Snowy-plumaged Wandering
    Albatross body-slamming a comparatively diminutive Gibson's Albatross and
    an immauculate Indic Yellow-nosed Albatross in its full breeding dress.

    Birds recorded according to latest Environment Australia Reporting Schedule:Species code: Species name: Numbers: (Note: numbers in parenthesis = highest count at any one time)

    929 Southern Giant Petrel Macronectes giganteus 1
    080 Cape Petrel Daption capense australe 3 (3)
    075 Great-winged Petrel Pterodroma m. macroptera 2 (2)
    076 SOFT-PLUMAGED PETREL P. mollis 3 (2)
    077 White-headed Petrel P. lessoni 3 (1)
    971 Solander's Petrel P. solandri 15+ (15+)
    083 Fairy Prion Pachyptila turtur 45+ (35+)
    084 ANTARCTIC PRION P. desolata 2 (2)
    942 SLENDER-BILLED PRION P. belcheri 4 (4)
    068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 505+ (500+)
    070 Hutton's Shearwater P. huttoni 40+ (30+)
    086 WANDERING ALBATROSS Diomedea exulans 2 (2) 1 adult male & 1 adult female
    846 ANTIPODEAN ALBATROSS D. antipodensis 2 (2) 2 immature males
    847 Gibson's Albatross D. gibsoni 35+ (15+)
    088 Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophrys 15 (9) only two adults
    859 Campbell Albatross T. impavida 17 (14) only one adult
    091 Shy Albatross T. cauta 6 (3)
    861 White-capped Albatross T. steadi 12 (5)
    864 Indic Yellow-nosed Albatross T. carteri 12 (5)
    063 Wilson's Storm Petrel Oceanites oceanicus 2 (1)
    065 White-faced Storm-Petrel Pelagodroma marina 3 (3)
    104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 2 (1)
    100 Little Pied Cormorant Phalacrocorax melanoleucos 1
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 1
    980 Brown Skua Catharacta lonnbergi 1 (1)
    981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 5 (4)
    125 Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae 250+ (50+)
    115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 45+ (35+)
    114 White-fronted Tern S. striata 5 (4)

    In the harbour:

    981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 1 adult
    115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 3
    100 Little Pied Cormorant Phalacrocorax melanoleucos 3
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 1829 species of seabird identified outside the breakwater.

    Mammals:

    Common Dolphin 250+
    New Zealand Fur Seal 1
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