Report prepared by: P.J. Milburn.

    Photographs: Salvins albatross (P. J. Milburn), Grey-headed albatross (P. J. Milburn), Damien and Wandering albatross (J. Jenkin-Smith), Nigel Marven, Linday and Gibsons albatross (J. Jenkin-Smith).

    Departed: 07:10 returned at approx. 16:30.
    Sea conditions: calm.
    Swell: SE to 1.0 to 2.0m offshore.
    Weather: Glorious winter sunshine.
    Temperature range: 7.0 to 19.1°C.
    Barometric pressure: 1018 HPa increasing slowly.
    Wind: WSW 5 to 8 knots at first decreasing to 3 to 5 knots SSW later in the day.
    Sea surface temperature: 18.1 to 21.8°C.
    Primary chumming location: S 34° 27’ – E 151° 19’.


    An anticyclone was centered over southern NSW resulting in a perfect winter day.

    There was very little seabird activity inshore, as might be expected in the calm conditions, and even the Silver Gulls were notable by their absence. The voyage eastward to the edge of the continental shelf was very quiet by normal standards. Small numbers of Black-browed and Indic Yellow-nosed Albatross provided entertainment in the perfect viewing conditions and a small group of Short-beaked Common Dolphins rode the bow wave for minutes on end.

    At the 85-fathom line, it was apparent that we were drawing in birds from the deeper water to the east. A variety of new species appeared including what appeared to be a white male TRISTAN and also Campbell, White-capped and SHY ALBATROSS.

    The first pterodroma petrels were encountered at the 200-fathom line so we began a drift-and-berley session but were disappointed by the overall lack of small petrels. In marked contrast, albatross numbers increased continuously. A first year SALVIN’S ALBATROSS circled us a few times and then joined the feeding mob. After about an hour, over a hundred albatross were behind us and half of these were diomedea albatross.

    The trip back to port was full of interest. A distant blow revealed the presence of a pod of 12 or so Pygmy Killer Whales and we were treated to excellent views of these. Later on another pod of Short-beaked Common Dolphins assembled at the bow. The only Brown Skua of the day followed us halfway back to port and just outside the harbour an immature GREY-HEADED ALBATROSS landed in our wake. Close inspection revealed that the bird was a third year and we were provided an excellent opportunity to study it.

    Campbell Albatross numbers had returned to those expected after a protracted decline but the prion flocks of recent weeks had disappeared. Continuing the trend for the winter season petrel numbers remained low.


    Very much a day of albatross encounters with excellent views of no fewer than 11 species observed in perfect conditions; these included WANDERING, TRISTAN, ANTIPODEAN, SHY, SALVIN’S and GREY-HEADED ALBATROSS. The winter trend towards high species diversity continued with a total of 17 species of procellariiformes being recorded among the daily the total of 25 seabird species. It was another good day for cetacean sightings, with an unusual winter record of Pygmy Killer Whales.

    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
    080 Cape Petrel Daption capense australe 2 (2)
    075 Great-winged Petrel Pterodroma m. macroptera 1
    971 Solander’s Petrel P. solandri 4 (2)
    083 Fairy Prion Pachyptila turtur 1
    068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 230+ (200+)
    913 Hutton’s Shearwater P. huttoni 1
    086 WANDERING ALBATROSS Diomedea exulans 3 (2)
    845 TRISTAN ALBATROSS D. dabbenena 3 (3)
    846 ANTIPODEAN ALBATROSS D. antipodensis 5 (5)
    847 Gibson’s Albatross D. gibsoni 55+ (40+)
    088 Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophrys 23 (15)
    859 Campbell Albatross T. impavida 28 (15)
    861 SHY ALBATROSS T. cauta 1
    861 White-capped Albatross T. steadi 5 (4)
    862 SALVIN’S ALBATROSS T. salvini 1 first year
    864Indic Yellow-nosed Albatross T.carteri 90+ (50+)
    090GREY-HEADED ALBATROSS T.chrysostoma 1
    104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 21 (15)
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 3 (2)
    980 Brown Skua Catharacta lonnbergi 1
    981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 5 (5)
    125 Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae 75+ (50+)
    114 White-fronted Tern Sterna striata 2 (1)
    115 Crested Tern S. bergii 17 (12)

    In the harbour:

    115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 1
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 2 (2)

    25 species of seabird identified outside the breakwater.

    Other birds:



    Pygmy Killer Whale Feresa attenuata 12 (12)
    Short-beaked Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 40+ (30+)





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