Report prepared by: P.J. Milburn.

    Departed: 07:15 returned at 16:00.
    Sea conditions: calm all day.
    Swell: E 1.0 to 2.0m offshore.
    Weather: late winter sunshine all day but with some high patchy cloud in the afternoon.
    Temperature range: 17.9 to 22.8°C.
    Barometric pressure: 1017 HPa rising.
    Wind: light and variable, NW to 7 knots later in the afternoon.
    Sea surface temperature: 17.9 to 20.8°C.
    Primary chumming location: S 34° 30’ – E 151° 18’.


    A large high-pressure ridge over southeastern Australia brought calm conditions and clear skies after several days of onshore winds.

    There was abundant seabird activity just beyond the breakwall but it was as if we were not included in this glorious early morning seascape. No fewer than 3 Giant-Petrels took a wide berth around us thereby evading specific identification. A little further out we were able to attract the attention of several Gibson’s, 2 WANDERING and 1 ANTIPODEAN ALBATROSS that were searching for the floating remains of post-spawning Giant Cuttlefish (Sepia aparma). It seemed that it was to be another great albatross day in spite of the fact that the ocean was glassy calm because we had great views of 7 species in the first 30 minutes at sea! Two Oceanic Bottle-nosed Dolphins were also foraging at the outside edge of Wollongong Reef.

    Just as soon as we reached the edge of the warm northerly current about 6 nautical miles out we encountered a Southern Humpback Whale and a pod of at least 7 pilot whales. The latter were most elusive and also evaded specific identification. The first Wedge-tailed Shearwaters of the upcoming breeding season appeared over our wake as we continued the pleasant cruise to the edge of the continental shelf. Seabirds were plentiful and included a Little Penguin and an adult SHY ALBATROSS.

    Our arrival at the edge of the continental shelf was heralded by the prompt appearance of a couple of Solander’s Petrels. A group of Australasian Gannets alerted us to the presence of Short-beaked Common Dolphin’s (cold water form) that were being followed by the first Common Terns of the spring season. We pulled up in over 240 fathoms of water for a productive drift-and-berley session.


    The undoubted highlight was sharing lunch with a large mixed species flock of albatross on a perfect spring day.

    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)

    005 Little Penguin Eudyptula minor 1
    929 SOUTHERN GIANT-PETREL Macronectes giganteus 3 (1)
    937 NORTHERN GIANT-PETREL M. halli 1
    080 Cape Petrel Daption capense australe 1
    971 Solander’s Petrel Pterodroma solandri 13 (6)
    068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 360+ (300+)
    913 Hutton’s Shearwater P. huttoni 715+ (700+)
    069 Wedge-tailed Shearwater P. pacificus 32 (15)
    086 WANDERING ALBATROSS Diomedea exulans 5 (3)
    846 ANTIPODEAN ALBATROSS D. antipodensis 7 (5)
    847 Gibson’s Albatross D. gibsoni 35 (30)
    088 Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophrys 13 (3)
    859 Campbell Albatross T. impavida 3 (2)
    861 SHY ALBATROSS T. cauta 1
    861 White-capped Albatross T. steadi 5 (2)
    864 Indic Yellow-nosed Albatross T. carteri 25 (8)
    099 Great Cormorant 1 Phalacrocorax carbo 1
    104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 35 (27)
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 4 (2)
    981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 3 (3)
    125 Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae 57 (35)
    114 White-fronted Tern Sterna striata 4 (2)
    115 Crested Tern S. bergii 27 (15)
    953 Common Tern S. hirundo 6 (2)

    In the harbour:

    096 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 2 (2)
    097 Little Black Cormorant P. sulcirostris 1
    099 Pied Cormorant P. varius 2 (2)
    100 Little Pied Cormorant P. melanoleucos 2 (2)
    101 Australian Darter Anhinga melanogaster 1
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 9 (9)
    115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 1

    A total of 24 species of seabird were identified outside the breakwater.

    Other birds observed at sea:



    Humpback Whale Megaptera novaeangliae 3 (2)
    Pilot Whale Globicephala sp. 7+ (7+)
    Oceanic Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops truncatus 2 (2)
    Short-beaked Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 365+ (350+)




    Frigate Mackerel Auxis thazard numerous
    Skipjack Tuna Katsuwonis pelamis numerous
    Short-tailed Sunfish Mola ramseyi 1
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