• 28th August 2010 SOSSA PELAGIC TRIP, WOLLONGONG, NSW, AUSTRALIA.

    Report prepared by: Lindsay E. Smith.

    Departed: 07:15 returned at 15:25.
    Sea conditions: 3.0 - 5m easing later in the day
    Swell: South to 3.0m inshore increasing to 4 m beyond the continental shelf decreasing during the day.

    Weather: Scattered cloud during the morning. Clearing, later in the day.
    Temperature range: 8 to 19įC.

    Barometric pressure: 1008 HPa. Rising
    Wind: South -SW 18 to 25 knots in the morning, easing later in the day. South East 10 to 15 knots in the afternoon.
    Sea surface temperature: 18į-19.2 C

    Primary chumming location: Nil.

    Summary:

    A series of cold fronts and gale force winds from the west south west had lashed the coast in the past few days only easing late on Friday night. As we departed the harbour the wind had eased to 20-25knots from the SW and the seas had abated to 2-3m inshore. Due largely to being protected from the southerly swell by the Five Islands

    A few Crested Terns and Australasian Gannets were patrolling the inshore waters as were good numbers of Albatrosses including Wandering, Black-browed, and Shy types feeding on the Giant Cuttlefish which were in good numbers. We had brief views of a small group of White-fronted Terns as we cruised past the Wollongong Trap Reef. Generally in inshore waters, were quite productive with smaller numbers of Fluttering Shearwaters and a few Huttonís Shearwaters as expected at this time of the year. The Wedge-tailed Shearwaters had begun to return and were present in low numbers.
    The Silver Gulls were conspicuous by their low numbers, though breeding on the Five Islands was well underway.

    At the 80-fathom line we encountered the first Gadfly petrel of the day it was a Solanderís Petrel which flew across our stern. As we cruised over the edge of the continental shelf at the 100-fathom line everybody was fully alert. Here to we were joined by a few Wandering Albatrosses D.exulans and a White-headed Petrel which past over our wake giving most on board brief but good views before disappearing to the SE.

    Conditions over the shelf were difficult 4-5m swells, 20-25 knot winds with a current flowing north at 1.5 knots made it impossible to stop and drift. As we burlied, we were soon joined by a variety of seabirds including the first of two Bullerís Albatrosses for the day. Eventually the birds lost interest in us and alighted well fed on the ocean. We had to set course for the harbour and leave this productive patch of blue water. We stopped briefly outside a reef at 60-fathoms before heading back to the lee of the islands to escape the difficult conditions. Unfortunately were forced back to harbour earlier than expected after a difficult but productive day at sea.

    Highlights:

    White-headed Petrel
    Arctic Tern

    Good numbers of Albatrosses including two Bullerís including a second year bird. Once again a Great Day on the ocean. You canít pick em! Many thanks to all who shared the day and supported our research.

    Birds recorded according to the 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
    937 Northern Giant Petrel Macrononectes halli 1
    080 Cape Petrel Daption capense 1 (1)
    077 White-headed Petrel Pterodroma lessoni 1
    971 Solanderís Petrel Pterodroma solandri 1 (1)
    083 Fairy Prion Pachyptila turtur <10
    068 Fluttering Shearwater P. gavia 30 (10)
    913 Hutton's Shearwater P. huttoni <10 (6)
    086 Wandering Albatross D.exulans 10 (5)
    088 Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophris 40+ (15)
    859 Campbell Albatross T.impavida 3 (2)
    931 Bullerís Albatross T. bulleri 2 (1)
    091 Shy Albatross T. cauta .>10 (6)
    861 White-capped Albatross T. steadi 2 (1)
    089 Indian yellow-nosed Albatross 15+ (7)
    104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 10 (6)
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 5 (5)
    981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 8 (3)
    125 Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae 200+ (200+)
    115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 15 (6)
    114 White-fronted Tern sterna striata >30 (10)
    952 Arctic Tern sterna paradisea 2

    In the harbour:

    096 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1
    100 Little Pied Cormorant, P. melanoleucos 1
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 1

    Other birds:

    Welcome Swallow Hirundo
    131 Sooty Oystercatcher Haematopus fuliginosus 4

    Mammals:

    Common Dolphin 7
    Fur Seal 1
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