• May 31st 2009, SOSSA PELAGIC TRIP, WOLLONGONG, NSW, AUSTRALIA.

    NB: This trip was rescheduled from the Saturday May 22nd due to the dangerous weather conditions last weekend.

    Report prepared by: Lindsay Smith.

    Departed: 07:15 returned at 15:30.
    Sea conditions: E 1.5 to 2.0m.
    Swell: ESE 2-3m with a large ground swell 3-4meters inshore, largely to being due to the low tide.
    Weather: overcast with a few passing showers through out the day.
    Temperature range: 14 to17.0įC.
    Barometric pressure: 1014 HPa steady .
    Wind: ESE 15-20 knots at first decreasing to 10- 15 knots by mid morning.
    Sea surface temperature: 23.0 inshore to 23.8įC. at the shelf break.

    Primary chumming location: A few short stops to bring birds to the boat for closer inspection and identification.

    Summary:
    Conditions had improved after the almost cyclonic weather of last week. A high pressure system replaced the low and the seas had abated significantly. In the past few days the high pressure was directing E to SE winds on shore. The water temperature was still very warm for this time of the year.

    Very few birds inshore, a few immature Black-browed and a single Yellow-nosed lbatrosses, juvenile and adult Australasian Gannets passed over our wake and were soon joined by Crested terns and Fairy Prions as we cleared the Wollongong Reef. A single Fluttering Shearwater and the first of the Shy and Bullerís Albatrosses joined the group.

    Progressing east into the choppy swell we added Campbell Albatrosses to our tally for the day.

    As we reached the end of the Abysmal Plain in 80 fathoms we were soon joined by Solanderís petrels in beautiful fresh plumage. Wilsonís Storm petrels appeared as we stopped to allow a distant Giant-petrel and an all dark Wandering albatross to approach the boat.

    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 we were soon joined by the first Cape Petrel and Northern Giant-petrel for the day. Three more Bullerís albatrosses joined the growing throng of birds. The Bullerís albatrosses flying along next to the boat at eye level only two-three metres from observers.

    As we headed back for the safety of the harbour the scrum of birds following in our wake began to grow as more birds joined in. By the time we passed the Wollongong Reef we had an impressive flock of birds around the boat. These included eight species of albatrosses and two species of Giant Petrel.

    It was a great start to the winter season.

    Highlights:

    BULLERíS ALBATROSS (Five birds in view at one time)

    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)

    086 Wandering Albatross Diomemdea exulans 3 (2) all inshore
    846 Antipodean Albatross Diomedea antipodensis 3 (2)
    847 Gibsonís Albatross Diomedea gibsoni 5 (3)
    859 Campbell Albatross Thalassarche impavida 3 (2) Three ages identified
    088 Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophrys 15 (7
    931 BULLER'S ALBATROSS Thalassarche . bulleri 5 (5) (unusually high number)
    091 Shy Albatross Thalassarche. cauta 7 (5) (one Juvenile captured and banded)
    971 Solander's Petrel Pterodroma. solandri 10 (5)
    068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 1 (1)
    083 Fairy Prion Pachyptila turtur 30 (9)
    089 Indic Yellow-nosed Albatross Thalassarche carteri 5 (3)
    929 Southern Giant Petrel Macronectes giganteus 2 (2)
    937 Northern Giant Petrel Macronectes halli 4 (3)
    080 Cape Petrel Daption capensis 5 (5)
    063 Wisonís Storm-Petrel Oceanites oceanicus 15 (7)
    104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 18 (5)
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 5 (3)
    125 Silver Gull Larus novaehollandiae 50+ (30)
    115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 20+ (10)
    114 White-fronted Tern Sterna striata 5 (5)

    In the harbour:

    100 Little Pied Cormorant 3
    099 Pied Cormorant 1
    096 Great Cormorant 2
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 7 (5)
    131 Sooty Oystercatcher 2 (2)

    Mammals:

    None

    Reptiles:

    None
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