Report prepared by: P.J. Milburn.

    Departed: 07:10 returned at approx. 15:30 .
    Sea conditions: choppy SW at first rising to 1.5 to 2.0m SSW by late morning but abating in the afternoon.
    Swell: SE 1.0 to 1.5 m.
    Weather: Bright winter sunshine all day.
    Temperature range: 12.5 to 19.1°C.
    Barometric pressure: 1014 HPa steady.
    Wind: WSW 8 to 10 knots at first increasing to SW 10 to 15 by mid-morning and easing later.
    Sea surface temperature: 18.5 to 21.2°C.
    Primary chumming location: S 34° 38’ – E 151° 09’.


    A slow-moving anticyclone located over central Australia and a low-pressure system moving east into the Tasman Sea arrival had generated southerly winds for most of the preceding week. The weather forecast was almost a carbon copy of the Saturday trip and the southwesterly breeze was chilly but had nothing of the bitterness of the preceding morning. Bright sunshine and high expectation were with us following the success of yesterday’s trip.

    We had barely cleared the breakwater when 2 adult CASPIAN TERNS flew southwest directly over the boat. Although a local resident, this was only the fourth occasion that this species has been recorded on a Wollongong Pelagic Trip. Several White-fronted Terns were present inshore, a species not recorded the day before. Black-browed and Campbell Albatross were foraging close to shore and a Brown Skua took the opportunity to harass the Silver Gulls following the boat. Australasian Gannets and Fluttering Shearwaters were searching for fish over the inshore reefs and 2 Southern Humpback Whales were seen heading north. Four White-capped Albatross flew in from the south to investigate our vessel but a Giant Petrel passing north in the distance showed no interest. We also picked up small group of Short-tailed Shearwaters that followed for most of the day.

    As we reached deeper water we began to see Fairy Prions and, as on the previous day, the occasional nominate race Great-winged Petrel. A NORTHERN-GIANT PETREL tagged along with us for a while but departed before we reached the edge of the continental shelf.

    At the 100-fathom line an adult BULLER’S ALBATROSS flew across our stern so we stooped to berley and it obligingly joined in with the crowd right at the back of the boat. In all six species of albatross were present, including 2 WANDERING ALBATROSS, as we drifted in pleasant conditions. It was definitely a day for photography, with hundreds of Fairy Prions around us. A few Wilson’ Storm-Petrels were among the prions and after an hour or so sharp eyes from the upper deck spotted a lone GREY-BACKED STORM-PETREL.

    We had to wait for the return leg of our journey for our only sighting of Gibson’s Albatross, a female and an unusual winter sighting of a pod of Risso’s Dolphin. The final rarity of the day, a first year PACIFIC GULL, appeared a few miles from home.

    For those of us who had been aboard for both days this weekend, we had enjoyed great views of 10 different species of Albatross before the calendar winter!


    This interesting trip provided a great variety of rare seabirds for the Wollongong Pelagic trip under pleasant conditions. For most on board the highlights were the BULLER’S ALBATROSS and GREY-BACKED STORM-PETREL.

    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)

    937NORTHERN GIANT-PETREL Macronectes halli 1
    075 Great-winged Petrel Pterodroma m. macroptera 5 (3)
    971 Solander’s Petrel P. solandri 3 (2)
    083 FAIRY PRION Pachyptila turtur 150+ (100+)
    068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 100+ (50+)
    913 Hutton’s Shearwater P. huttoni 2 (1)
    071 Short-tailed Shearwater P. tenuirostris 3 (2)
    086 WANDERING ALBATROSS Diomedea exulans 2 (2)
    847 Gibson’s Albatross D. gibsoni 1
    088 Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophrys 29 (6)
    859 Campbell Albatross T. impavida 12 (9)
    931 BULLER’S ALBATROSS T. bulleri 1
    861 White-capped Albatross T. steadi 8 (4)
    864Indic Yellow-nosed Albatross T.carteri 11 (5)
    063 Wilson’s Storm-Petrel Oceanites oceanicus 3 (3)
    064 GREY-BACKED STORM-PETREL Nereis garrodia 1
    104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 17 (5)
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 1
    980 Brown Skua Catharacta lonnbergi 4 (1)
    981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 1
    125 Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae 108 (61)
    126 PACIFIC GULL L. pacificus 1
    112 CASPIAN TERN Sterna caspia 2 (2)
    114 White-fronted Tern S. striata 2 (1)
    115 Crested Tern S. bergii 4 (2)

    In the harbour:

    005 Little Penguin Eudyptula minor 1
    097 Little Black Cormorant Phalacrocorax sulcirostris 1
    100 Little Pied Cormorant P. melanoleucos 1
    101 Australian Darter Anhinga melanogaster 1
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 3 (3)
    193 Striated Heron Ardeola striatus macrorhynchus 1

    25 species of seabird identified outside the breakwater.

    Other birds:



    Humpback Whale Megaptera novaeangliae 2 (2)
    Risso’s Dolphin Grampus griseus 6 (6)




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