Report prepared by: Lindsay Smith.
Departed: 07:30 returned at 15:30.
Sea conditions: E 1.0 to 2.0m.
Swell: E to 1.0 to 1.5m With large ground swell 3-4meters inshore
Weather: overcast in morning clearing later in the day
Temperature range: 16 to 23.0°C.
Barometric pressure: 1006 HPa falling.
Wind: North westerly 15 knots at first increasing to 15 to 18 knots by mid morning and 30 knots in the afternoon .
Sea surface temperature: 23.0 to 23.6°C.
Primary chumming location: 34° 30'S : 151° 16'E.
A low-pressure system had developed off the southeast coast of NSW the previous day, creating moderate to strong NW winds, but now was moving eastwards into the Tasman Sea. The weather was windy 10-15knots inshore rising to 30 knots offshore but otherwise pleasant.
The sighting of a juvenile Peregrine Falcon plucking a Silver Gull on the ground next to the walkway appeared unconcerned by passing traffic made for an interesting start to the day.
Very few birds inshore, an immature Black-browed Albatross and a few juvenile Australasian Gannets past over our wake and were soon joined by a few Wedge-tailed Shearwaters. As we cleared the Wollongong Reef Crested Terns and a Fluttering Shearwater and the first of the Flesh-footed Shearwaters joined the group following in our wake.
Progressing north east into the choppy swell we added in quick succession; Campbell, Shy, Yellow-nosed and White-capped albatrosses Arctic Jaeger to our tally for the day.
There were a lot of Australasian Gannets feeding when we reached the 80 fathom zone. We stopped briefly to look for other species foraging amongst them as they were feeding on large Gar-fish being pushed to the surface by a very large pod of 100+ Common Dolphins
A second year GREY-HEADED ALBATROSS at the 200 fathom line was very difficult to pick up amongst the immature Black-browed albatrosses despite quite close views. This bird stayed with us for a time and offered good views to all on board. We were soon joined by Solander’s petrels in beautiful fresh plumage.
It was a surprise when an adult BULLER'S ALBATROSS appeared right next to the boat. This continued the recent spate of records of this normally infrequently observed species. Here we also encountered a small number of Shy, White-capped, Black-browed albatrosses and Pomarine Jaeger.
Although uncomfortable for some, we set up a drift-and-berley session just beyond the 200-fathom line and the difficult conditions were soon forgotten as I produced a Cook’s Petrel which had been in care at the Taronga Wildlife Hospital. This was the first ever live specimen collected in Australia. Unfortunately for the photographers on board, the little petrel had enough of captivity and headed straight for the horizon.
Unfortunately sea conditions began to deteriorate as the wind picked up to 30 knots and we head for the safety of the harbour.
Many thanks for the great work done by the team at Taronga Wildlife Hospital.
COOK’s PETREL1 (Released)
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)
918 COOK’S PETREL Pterodroma cooki 1 (Released)
971 Solander's Petrel P. solandri 5 (3)
068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 1 (1)
069 Wedge-tailed Shearwater P. pacificus 100+ (75)
072 Flesh-footed Shearwater P. carneipes 5 (3)
088 Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophrys 15 (7)
931 BULLER'S ALBATROSS T. bulleri 3 (2)
091 SHY ALBATROSS T. cauta 2 (2)
861 White-capped Albatross T. steadi 3 (2)
089 Indic Yellow-nosed Albatross T. carteri 5 (3)
090 GREY-HEADED ALBATROSS T. chrysostoma 1
945 Pomarine Jaeger 3 (2)
981 Kelp Gull 2 (2)
104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 300+ (300)
106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 5 (2)
125 Silver Gull Larus novaehollandiae 20+ (10)
128 Arctic Jaeger 2 (1)
115 Crested Tern S. bergii 40+ (20)
In the harbour:
237 Peregrine Falcon 1
106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 8 (5)
131 Sooty Oystercatcher 2 (2)
Short-beaked Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 100+ (70)