Report prepared by: P.J. Milburn.
    Photographs: great-winged petrel (B. Whylie)

    Departed: 07:30 returned at approx. 15:45 .
    Sea conditions: sloppy, 1.0 to 2.0m ‘pineapple sea’.
    Swell: negligible.
    Weather: overcast all day.
    Temperature range: 18.1 to 21.1°C.
    Barometric pressure: 1016 HPa rising.
    Wind: variable, SE to E 8 to 12 knots.
    Sea surface temperature: 19.1 to 21.0°C.
    Primary chumming locations: S 34° 29’ – E 151° 11’, S 34° 30’ – E 151° 19’.


    A high-pressure system was moving into the region and we enjoyed light southeasterly breezes under its influence. The cloud cover and breeze, which was noticeably cool, produced a rather comfortable day for those, who had remembered to bring suitable attire. The sea conditions were a little sloppy at first but improved during the day. The abundance of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and Crested Terns was puzzlingly low all day but this did not impact upon the fact that we were to have an outstanding day.

    Our departure was delayed unduly because a number of expected participants failed to appear at the quayside but soon we were cruising through flocks of foraging shearwaters. Short-tailed Shearwaters predominated and several Pomarine Jaegers began to follow us eastwards over Wollongong Reef. A Hammerhead Shark circled us and an adult White-capped and two immature Campbell Albatross appeared from the south. More albatross appeared; first a female Gibson’s Albatross, then a first year SHY ALBATROSS and finally more of everything!

    It seemed much more like winter than summer in the cool breeze under the leaden grey skies and the following mixed species group of albatross reinforced that misconception. At the 80-fathom line we stopped on a hunch for a drift-and-berley session and we rewarded immediately with the appearance of a second year BLACK PETREL.

    Birds were few and far between over the waters at the edge of the continental shelf but as we reached deeper water we observed several adult SOOTY TERNS and more Great-winged Petrels appeared in small numbers. Several Short-beaked Common Dolphins joined us as we pulled up at the 200-fathom line in order to set up another drift-and-berley session. In addition to the albatross species listed above we attracted a juvenile Black-Browed Albatross, Great-winged Petrels and not only Pomarine, but also Arctic and LONG-TAILED JAEGERS.

    As we began our journey back to port we encountered the only Sooty Shearwater of the day. Continuing the trend of recent times the return leg was most productive; a small flock of terns included another adult SOOTY TERN, 4 Common Terns and the first Crested Terns of the trip! Other notable observations were BULLER’S SHEARWATER and ANTIPODEAN ALBATROSS.


    Both the species diversity and the number of individuals in the albatross congregation were quite a surprise for a summer trip Wollongong waters. More in keeping with the season, were the excellent views of BLACK PETREL, BULLER’S SHEARWATER, a LONG-TAILED JAEGER and several adult SOOTY TERNS.

    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 41 (32)
    917 BLACK PETREL Procellaria parkinsoni 1
    068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 6 (2)
    913 Hutton’s Shearwater P. huttoni 4 (1)
    069 Wedge-tailed Shearwater P. pacificus 50+ (25)
    070 Sooty Shearwater P. griseus 1
    071 Short-tailed Shearwater P. tenuirostris 750+ (450+)
    072 Flesh-footed Shearwater P. carneipes 3 (1)
    975 BULLER’S SHEARWATER P. bulleri 1
    846 ANTIPODEAN ALBATROSS Diomedea antipodensis 1
    847 Gibson’s Albatross D. gibsoni 10 (6)
    088 Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophrys 1
    859 Campbell Albatross T. impavida 3 (3)
    091 SHY ALBATROSS T. cauta 5 (2)
    861 White-capped Albatross T. steadi 4 (2)
    104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 7 (3)
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 9 (8)
    128 Arctic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus 5 (3)
    945 Pomarine Jaeger S. pomarinus 28 (13)
    933 LONG-TAILED JAEGER S. longicauda 1
    981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 2 (2)
    125 Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae 75+ (50+)
    115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 3 (3)
    953 Common Tern S. hirundo 4 (4)
    120 SOOTY TERN S. fuscata 4 (1)

    In the harbour:

    096 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 2 (2)
    097 Little Black Cormorant P. sulcirostris 4 (3)
    100 Little Pied Cormorant P. melanoleucos 1
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 14 (10)
    193 Striated Heron Ardeola striatus macrorhynchus 1

    25 species of seabird identified outside the breakwater.

    Other birds:



    Short-beaked Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 3 (3)




    Scalloped Hammerhead Shark Sphyrna lewini
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