Report prepared by: Lindsay E. Smith

    Photographs: White-necked petrel (Brook Whylie); Gould petrel (Brook Whylie), White tern (Damien Farine), Providence (Solanders) (Damien Farine).

    Departed: 07:15 returned at 15:45 EDT .
    Sea conditions: bumpy confused sea rising to 1.5 to 2.0m ENE later.
    Swell: 1.5 to 2.5m ENE offshore.
    Weather: comfortably warm with mostly clear sky.
    Temperature range: 21.0 to 28.7°C.
    Barometric pressure: 1011 HPa steady.
    Wind: Morning ESE 12-15 knot breeze strengthening to 20-25 knots NNE later.
    Sea surface temperature: 24.2 to 25.7°C.
    Primary chumming location: S 34° 31 15' - E 151° 18'.


    A high-pressure system located well offshore in the Tasman Sea generated an easterly airflow. In pleasant autum conditions we hoped to encounter some tropical seabird species.

    Beyond the inshore reefs were Wedge-tailed and Flesh-footed Shearwaters, Australasian Gannets Pomarine and Arctic Jaegers. Crested Terns were present in smaller numbers than recorded on recent trips and, indeed, overall seabird numbers remained low until we reached the deeper water. An adult SHY ALBATROSS came to check out our vessel but other than this single distant cookalaria petrel was the most significant other sighting during our journey to the edge of the continental shelf.

    As we crossed a marked water interface the surface temperature jumped upwards and the number of seabirds following our vessel increased from tens to hundreds, being mostly Wedge-tailed and Flesh-footed shearwaters. Several Short-tailed shearwaters offered great opportunities to compare the differences between shearwater species and a few Great-winged and Solander’s Petrels were in their midst, almost as if for comparison also.

    Nearing the edge of the continental shelf, a stunning WHITE-NECKED PETREL appeared followed by a WHITE TERN and then intermediate KERMADEC PETREL. Several GOULD’S PETREL flew past and then a both juvenile ANTIPODEAN and a Gibson's Albatross joined the flock. Soon afterwards adult Gibson’s Albatrosses, both male and female, appeared. Unable to resist, we began a drift-and-berley session for the benefit of our observers from overseas that had never before encountered these magnificent birds. Birds continued to join us from all directions, including further close encounters with WHITE –NECKED PETREL. As if this weren’t enough excitement for one morning several more GOULD’S PETREL were also recorded.

    Continuing our cruise to the northeast we attracted an impressive flock of seabirds and we were joined by a pod of Oceanic Bottle-nosed Dolphins riding our bow waves. Several larger pods were in view around the boat.

    With the sea behind we returned to shore the trip made almost comfortable. We added several further species to our daily tally and the SOSSA research team banded a substantial number of birds as part of their long-term studies, including a Wedge-tailed shearwater banded at the Five Islands 16 years previously.


    An exciting 14 species of procellariformes were recorded and amidst a spectacular flock of seabirds WHITE-NECKED, GOULD’S and KERMADEC PETREL were recorded. Despite the late summer conditions, a surprising number of albatross were present, including SHY and ANTIPODEAN ALBATROSS. Today’s star tern was an adult WHITE TERN.

    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)

    073 Great-winged Petrel Pterodroma macroptera gouldi 10 (6)
    971 Solander’s Petrel P. solandri 5 (3)
    922 KERMADEC PETREL P. neglecta 1 intermediate morph
    774 WHITE-NECKED PETREL P. cervicalis 5 (2)
    078 GOULD’S PETREL P. leucoptera 7 (2)
    063 Wilson ’s Storm-Petrel Oceanites oceanicus 3 (2)
    068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 3 (1)
    813 Hutton’s Shearwater P. huttoni 3 (2)
    069 Wedge-tailed Shearwater P. pacificus 300+ (.100+)
    071 Short-tailed Shearwater P. tenuirostris 8 (4)
    072 Flesh-footed Shearwater P. carneipes 30+ (20)
    847 Gibson's Albatross Diomedea gibsoni 5 (3)
    846 ANTIPODEAN ALBATROSS D. antipodensis 4 (3)
    091 SHY ALBATROSS Thalassarche cauta 1 adult
    104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 17 (6)
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 1
    945 Pomarine Jaeger Stercorarius pomarinus 10 (6)
    128 Arctic Jaeger S. parasiticus 3 (2)
    981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 2 (1)
    125 Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae 60+ (35+)
    115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 9 (3)
    972 WHITE TERN Gygis alba 1 (1)

    In the harbour:

    005 Little Penguin Eudyptula minor 1
    096 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 2 (1)
    097 Little Black Cormorant P. sulcirostris 3 (2)
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 1
    115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 1

    22 species of seabird identified outside the breakwater.

    Other birds:



    Oceanic Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops truncatus 40+ (20+)





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