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 ground swell to 2meters.
Weather: overcast in morning and remaining so through out the day with infrequent sunny periods
Temperature range: 6 to18.0°C.
Barometric pressure: 1027 HPa steady throughout the day.
Wind: North westerly 3-4 knots at first increasing to 10 knots by mid morning
15-20 knots by late afternoon .
Sea surface temperature:17.0 inshore - 19.6°C. at 200 fathoms.
Primary chumming location: 34° 30'S : 151° 18'E.
A series of cold fronts had past through the southwest of NSW in the previous weeks creating moderate to strong SW winds, this was now was moving eastwards into the Tasman Sea under the influence of a high pressure system the weather was calm 10-12 knots inshore rising to 15-20 knots offshore.
It was a very pleasant and comfortable day at sea aboard the Sandra K. Conditions for birds improved in the afternoon
Birds were certainly up in numbers and species diversity from yesterday. The large “Warm Core Eddy” (21.0 +c) and SE drift rate of 1.6 knots was still directly off the coast. This eddy extends to well inshore to the Wollongong Reef.
Very few birds inshore, an immature Black-browed Albatross and a few juvenile Australasian Gannets and the first of the Yellow-nosed Albatrosses past over our wake and were soon joined by a few Silver Gulls.
As we cleared the Wollongong Reef Crested Terns and a few juvenile Fluttering Shearwaters and the first of the Brown Skuas followed in our wake.
Progressing north east into the low swell we added in quick succession; Campbell, Shy, White-capped albatrosses and White-fronted Tern to our tally for the day.
Several Humpback Whales and Fur Seals were observed at a distance inshore
We were soon joined by Solander’s petrels in worn plumage as we approached the region off the continental shelf though numbers were low.
Here we also encountered a small number of Wandering Albatrosses a lone Salvin’s Albatross and several more White-fronted Terns. We found two local fishing trawlers operating in 240 fathoms. Unfortunately for us they had just completed hauling operations before we could get to them.
Although uncomfortable for some, we set up a drift-and-berley session just beyond the 45-fathom line and waited on the trawlers to pass by us. They bought with them a concentration of birds including many smaller Albatrosses.
The conditions were soon forgotten as an unusual albatross was observed among the Black-browed and Yellow-nosed Albatrosses. This bird was initially thought to be a juvenile Buller’s Albatross. The Banding crew set into action and managed to capture a few of the albatrosses and band them (This give people the opportunity to be come involved in our research) Whilst, allowing people to see the birds up close and personal.
Amongst the birds captured was the unusual albatross. This proved to be a juvenile Grey-headed Albatross a rare and exciting new bird for many on board. All too soon it was time to head for the safety of the harbour.
Grey-headed Albatross, Salvin’s Albatross.
Species code: Species name: Numbers:
(Note: numbers in parenthesis = highest count at any one time)
937 Northern Giant Petrel macronectes halli 1 (1)
971 Solander's Petrel P. solandri 5 (3)
068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 20 (6)
913 Hutton’s Shearwater 3 (1)
086 Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans 2 (2)
847 Gibson’s Albatross Diomedea gibsoni 1 (1)
088 Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophrys 30 (18)
859 Campbell Albatross Thalassarche impavida 3 (2)
862 SALVIN’S ALBATROSS Thalassarche salvini 1 (1)
090 GREY-HEADED ALBATROSS Thalassarche chrysostoma (1)
091 Shy Albatross T. cauta 3 (2)
861 White-capped Albatross T. steadi 2 (2)
089 Indic Yellow-nosed Albatross T. carteri 25 (18)
104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 15+ (8)
106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 5 (2)
125 Silver Gull Larus novaehollandiae 20+ (10)
115 Crested Tern S. bergii 25+ (10)
114 White-fronted Tern Sterna striata 5 (3)
8698 Brown Skua Catharacta lonngbergi 3 (3)
In the harbour:
096 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 2 (1)
106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 8 (5)
131 Sooty Oystercatcher Haematopus fuliginosus 2 (2)
159 Striated Heron Butorides (Ardeola) striatus 1
Fur-Seal, species not determined.
Short-beaked Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 6