• 13th September 2008, SOSSA PELAGIC TRIP, WOLLONGONG, NSW, AUSTRALIA.

    Report prepared by: Lindsay Smith.

    Departed: 07:30 returned at 15:30.
    Sea conditions: SW 1.0 to 2.0m.
    Swell: SE to 1.0 to 1.5m.
    Weather: overcast in morning clearing later in the day
    Temperature range: 13 to 27.0C.
    Barometric pressure: 1012 HPa rising.
    Wind: North westerly less than 5 knots at first increasing to 15 to 18 knots by mid morning.
    Sea surface temperature: 15.4 to 16.5C.
    Primary chumming location: 34 37'S : 151 11'E.

    Summary:

    A large anticyclone was moving out of the Great Australian Bight into western Victoria. A low-pressure system had developed off the north east coast of NSW previous day, creating gale force winds, but now was moving eastwards into the Tasman Sea. The weather was very chilly but otherwise pleasant. The sea had not settled down after the wild weather but at least it was safe to leave the harbour, in contrast to the previous day.

    Very few birds inshore Black-browed and Yellow-nosed Albatross greeted us as we cleared the Wollongong Reef . Soon a White fronted Tern joined the silver gulls, Crested Terns and a small party of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters appeared over our wake. A Brown Skua high above our wake was looking for an opportunity to create havoc. Small numbers of Fluttering Shearwaters and Australasian Gannets were present also and the first of several Fairy Prions were seen foraging over the inshore reefs.

    Progressing north east into the choppy swell we added in quick succession; Campbell, SHY, White-capped, Gibson's and WANDERING ALBATROSS to our tally for the day. There were not a lot of albatross about until we reached the 80fathom zone. We stopped briefly. In order to catch one of two Brown Skuas that were following. 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.

    A second year GREY-HEADED ALBATROSS at the 80 fathom line was very difficult to pick up amongst the immature Black-browed albatrosses despite quite close views. Fairy Prions began to appear around us and were soon joined by a Solanders petrel at 90 fathoms. This bird stayed with us for a time and offered good views to all on board. Here we encountered a small number of Shy and white-capped albatrosses.

    Although uncomfortable for some, we set up a drift-and-berley session just beyond the 100-fathom line and the difficult conditions were soon forgotten as new species Unusually, there were no Kelp Gulls to be seen.

    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 3 (1)
    083 Fairy Prion Pachyptila turtur 38 (20)
    075 Grey-faced Petrel P. (macroptera) gouldi 1
    971 Solander's Petrel P. solandri 1
    068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 19 (8)
    069 Wedge-tailed Shearwater P. pacificus 4 (3)
    086 WANDERING ALBATROSS Diomedea exulans 2 (2)
    847 Gibson's Albatross D. gibsoni 21 (12)
    088 Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophrys 58 (30)
    931 BULLER'S ALBATROSS T. bulleri 3 (2)
    091 SHY ALBATROSS T. cauta 15 (8)
    861 White-capped Albatross T. steadi 7 (2)
    862 SALVIN'S ALBATROSS T. salvini 1
    089 Indic Yellow-nosed Albatross T. carteri 24 (5)
    090 GREY-HEADED ALBATROSS T. chrysostoma 1
    104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 34 (24)
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 5 (2)
    980 Brown Skua Catharacta lonnbergi 4 (3)
    125 Silver Gull Larus novaehollandiae 100+ (38)
    114 White-fronted Tern Sterna striata 1 (1)
    115 Crested Tern S. bergii 40+ (20)

    In the harbour:

    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 26 (26)

    Mammals:


    New Zealand Fur Seal Arctocephalus forsteri 1
    Short-beaked Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 2 (2)

    Reptiles:

    None

    Fish:
    None
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