Report prepared by: Lindsay E. Smith.

    Photographs: South Polar skua (B. Whylie), Streaked shearwater (B. Whylie), South Polar skua (N. Coghlan)

    Departed: 07:10 returned at 15:35.
    Sea conditions:1.5 - 2m easing later in the day
    Swell: South-SE to 1.5 to 2.5 m decreasing to 1.0 to 1.5 m during the day.
    Weather: bright sunshine with scattered cloud during the late morning. Clearing later in the day
    Temperature range: 15 to 14°C.
    Barometric pressure: 1008 HPa.
    Wind: South west 15 to 20 knots in the morning easing later in the day to the South west 8 to 10 knots in the afternoon.
    Sea surface temperature: 23.1 to 24.8°C.
    Primary chumming location: S 34° 27' - E 151° 15'.

    High-pressure systems were located in the Tasman Sea and the Great Australian Bight creating a stable weather pattern with gentle mostly easterly breezes. A warm water core was located offshore that brought a stream of blue pelagic water rippling past the continental shelf. The portents were very promising indeed as we cruised out of the harbour in near perfect conditions. Pomarine Jaegers a few Crested Terns and two Australasian Gannets were patrolling the inshore waters and we had good views of a as we cruised past. Generally in inshore waters were quite with few birds. The Silver Gulls were conspicuous by their absence.

    An assortment of small fish was in abundance so it was not a surprise to find an assortment of shearwater species which included a BULLER'S SHEARWATER.

    With the full moon, marine life was plentiful and once past the outermost reef system. Another small group of Short-beaked Common Dolphins past over our wake. An adult LONG-TAILED JAEGER showing new primaries and fresh plumage. Things began to improve once we were at the end of the abysmal plain.

    At the 80-fathom line we encountered the first Gadfly petrel of the day, it was a Great- winged 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 and we were rewarded with great views of several species. We were surrounded by procellariiformes at this point and several Grey-faced Petrels approached our stern closely. These were soon joined by the Flesh footed and Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, and then a Fluttering Shearwater was spotted. This bird obligingly approached our vessel several times allowing its identity to be ascertained. A short time later this bird was joined by a Hutton’s Shearwater. Both birds flew up the wake and criss-crossed the stern many times, presenting a great opportunity to compare the two species.

    As conditions eased we stopped to drift and burlied, we were soon joined by a variety of seabirds. A Pale morph South Polar Skua joined the group foraging alongside the boat to the delight of our participants. This species is extremely rare in these waters. This bird stayed with us for over half an hour and began following the boat at a distance this offered great photo opportunities. Chasing shearwaters to rob for food rather than fly up to the boat. Many of those on board claimed it for their life list. 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 depth and attracted a spectacular crowd of birds Silver Gulls, and 10 adult Kelp Gulls, Shearwaters, Wedge-tailed, Short tailed, Fluttering and a Streaked Shearwater! Crested Terns and Gannets

    We had to wait until we were almost back at Wollongong for the one and only Arctic Jaeger of the day.


    South Polar Skua and Streaked Shearwater Buller’s Shearwater
    What started out as an uncomfortable day on the ocean. Once again proved to be a Great Day!
    You can’t pick em! Many thanks to all who shared in the day. Cheers Lindsay

    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)

    075 Grey –faced Petrel Pterodroma macroptera gouldi (10)
    075Great-winged Petrel Pterodroma macropterai 3
    068 Fluttering Shearwater P. gavia 5 (2)
    913 Hutton's Shearwater P. huttoni 2 (2)
    069 Wedge-tailed Shearwater P. pacificus 300+ (150+)
    071 Short-tailed Shearwater P. tenuirostris ,<10 (4)
    072 Flesh-footed Shearwater P. carneipes 20+ (15)
    853 STREAKED SHEARWATER Calonectris leucomelas 1
    975 BULLER'S SHEARWATER P. bulleri 2 (1)
    979 SOUTH POLAR SKUA Catharacta maccormicki
    096 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1
    100 Little Pied Cormorant, P. melanoleucos 2
    104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 4 (1)
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 5 (5)
    128 Arctic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus 1
    933 LONG-TAILED JAEGER S. longicauda 3 (2)
    945 Pomarine Jaeger S. pomarinus 5 (3)
    981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 10+ (8)
    125 Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae 200+ (200+)
    115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 5 (2)
    Unidentified “Common type” tern 2 (2)

    In the harbour:

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

    13 species of procellariiformes in a total of 23 species of seabird identified outside the breakwater.

    Other birds:

    Welcome Swallow Hirundo
    131 Sooty Oystercatcher Haematopus fuliginosus 1


    Short-beaked Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 15+ (10)
    Bottle-nosed Dolphin 2



  • Slideshow