Report prepared by: P.J. Milburn.

    Departed: 07:15 returned at approx. 15:45.
    Sea conditions: Gentle; SE/ESE seas at 1.0 to 1.5m.
    Swell: SE to 1.0 to 2.5m.
    Weather: Overcast with rain squalls at first, clearing to bright sunshine.
    Temperature range: 12.8 to 23.3°C.
    Barometric pressure: 1019 HPa falling.
    Wind: SE 5 to 8 knots at first increasing to ESE 15 knots by mid morning but easing later.
    Sea surface temperature: 17.5 to 20.4°C.
    Primary chumming location: S 34° 28’ – E 151° 19’.


    A high-pressure system was located in the central Tasman Sea with a trough of low pressure to the north and a depression in the Great Australian Bight moving slowly eastwards. The strong southerlies during the week had abated to modest easterlies as the high moved offshore, engendering expectations of an interesting pelagic journey.

    An unusual collection of birds were sighted immediately offshore; a drake Chestnut Teal flew north, then a Great Cormorant and bringing up the rear of the procession was a NORTHERN GIANT-PETREL. A male Gibson’s and an adult Indic Yellow-nosed Albatross were foraging close inshore. Wedge-tailed Shearwaters had returned in force but were heavily outnumbered by Fluttering and, to a lesser extent, Hutton’s Shearwaters. A small raft of Little Penguins, an Australian Fur-Seal spotted by sharp eyes from the upper deck and several Short-beaked Common Dolphins added further variety.

    At the outer reefs we encountered White-fronted Terns, White-capped Albatross and the first Cape Petrel of the day. However, the dominant species was Fluttering Shearwater with rafts of birds all around us. Beyond the outer reefs we ran over a finger of warmer water that was to prove the hot spot of the trip with birds appearing from all directions. From amidst the shearwater hordes a WHITE-CHINNED PETREL appeared right over our transom and several Brown Skuas appeared overhead. At least 2 first year SHY ALBATROSS were dodging between numerous White-capped Albatross and a SOUTHERN GIANT-PETREL and several more Cape Petrels appeared over our wake. As if this were not enough to absorb in one moment, 2 WHITE-HEADED PETRELS closed on our starboard beam and those with an eye for detail also logged the first Solander’s Petrel of the day.

    Proceedings calmed somewhat thereafter; until 2 Humpback Whales surfaced close alongside at the edge of the continental shelf. These magnificent animals surfaced repeatedly to within 10m of our vessel and we all seemed to be in a state of mutual fascination. The enforced halt in our cruise eastwards also turned out to be most productive for seabirds; Cape and Grey-faced Petrels, Giant-Petrels and Fairy Prions appeared as if from nowhere.

    We pulled up at the 250-fathom line for a long drift-and-berley session and attracted an impressive flock of 8 species of albatross. A Wilson’s Storm-Petrel appeared and joined the burgeoning flock of CAPE PETRELS. At least half a dozen juvenile WANDERING ALBATROSS (2 with French bands and 1 with a British band) dominated the proceedings.

    The albatross flock followed us for a long way on our trip back to port and several more sightings of Fur-Seals, Humpback Whale and Short-beaked Common Dolphins provided additional entertainment. A solitary Kelp Gull followed us for the last part of our cruise and the grand finale was a first year SALVIN’ S ALBATROSS that cut across our wake just wide of the Flagstaff Point lighthouse.


    A wonderful cruise on a gentle sea produced an impressive spectacle of marine wildlife with a total of 23 species of procellariiformes being recorded in a total of 31 seabirds species. A WHITE-CHINNED PETREL and the WHITE-HEADED PETRELS were greeted with great enthusiasm but those thinking about the drive home missed the SALVIN’S ALBATROSS right at the end of the 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 (4)
    929 SOUTHERN GIANT-PETREL Macronectes giganteus 3 (3)
    937 NORTHERN GIANT-PETREL M. halli 2 (1)
    080 Cape Petrel Daption capense australe 20+ (17)
    075 Grey-faced Petrel Pterodroma macroptera gouldi 3 (1)
    077 WHITE-HEADED PETREL P. lessonii 2 (2)
    971 Solander’s Petrel P. solandri 14 (6)
    915 WHITE-CHINNED PETREL Procellaria aequinoctialis 1
    083 Fairy Prion Pachyptila turtur 10 (3)
    068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 5000+ (2000+)
    913 Hutton’s Shearwater P. huttoni 250+ (100+)
    069 Wedge-tailed Shearwater P. pacificus 145+ (85+)
    071 Short-tailed Shearwater P. tenuirostris 1
    086 WANDERING ALBATROSS Diomedea exulans 12 (7)
    846 ANTIPODEAN ALBATROSS D. antipodensis 1
    847 Gibson’s Albatross D. gibsoni 18 (7)
    088 Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophrys 8 (3)
    859 Campbell Albatross T. impavida 3 (2)
    861 SHY ALBATROSS T. cauta 3 (2)
    861 White-capped Albatross T. steadi 12 (5)
    862 SALVIN’S ALBATROSS T. salvini 1
    864 Indic Yellow-nosed Albatross T. carteri 15 (6)
    063 Wilson’s Storm-Petrel Oceanites oceanicus 1
    096 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1
    104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 9 (6)
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 1
    980 Brown Skua Catharacta lonnbergi 5 (2)
    981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 1
    125 Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae 150+ (120+)
    114 White-fronted Tern Sterna striata 13 (4)
    115 Crested Tern S. bergii 23 (15)

    In the harbour:

    096 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1
    099 Pied Cormorant P. varius 1
    100 Little Pied Cormorant P. melanoleucos 1
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 7 (7)

    31 species of seabird identified outside the breakwater.

    Other birds:

    226 White-bellied Sea-Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster 1 adult
    210 Chestnut Teal Anas castanea 1 male


    Australian Fur Seal Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus 3 (1)
    Humpback Whale Megaptera novaeangliae 5 (2)
    Short-beaked Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 12 (5)




    Short Sunfish Mola ramsayi 1
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