Report prepared by: Graham Barwell.
After a delayed start due to ropes across the boat harbour having to be removed, we left at 08:10 hrs aboard Sandra K and headed east into what was still quite a big swell following huge seas earlier in the week as a result of an offshore low. We motored out to 34° 27’ S; 151° 09’ E, 23.8 km east of the harbour, where SOSSA members tried unsuccessfully to catch shearwaters for banding, 10:00-10:05 hrs. We pushed further out to 34° 27’ S; 151° 19’ E, 38.7 km east of the harbour in pelagic waters, where the process of catching and banding Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, with a few Great-winged Petrels and Short-tailed Shearwaters, was much more successful. We stayed here for about 20 mins, then moved a little further east to 34° 27’ S; 151° 20’ E, 39.7 km E of the harbour, where the SOSSA banding team continued to work furiously, 12:00-12:30 hrs. We then proceeded out to our furthest point east, 34° 26’ S; 151° 26’ E, in 500 fathoms, where we turned at around 13:00 hrs and began the long trip back in, catching more shearwaters en route.
As the day wore on a strong NE wind developed making for choppy seas and a bumpy ride home. It was sunny and mild c. 20° to warm c. 26° out of the wind, with the sea temp. 21.9° inshore. We arrived back at around 17:00 hrs.
Birding highlight for me was the sighting on 3 separate occasions of single GREY TERNLETS.
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(6)
069 Wedge-tailed Shearwater P. pacificus
072 Flesh-footed Shearwater P. carneipes
071 Short-tailed Shearwater P. tenuirostri (1)
068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia (1)
847 Gibsons Albatross (1) Diomedea gibsoni
104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator
945 Pomarine Jaeger S. pomarinus
128 Arctic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus (2)
981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus (6+)
125 Silver Gull Larus novaehollandiae
112 Caspian Tern Sterna caspia (1)
115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii
982 Grey Ternlet Procelsterna cerulea (1)
Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus (1)
Sooty Oystercatcher (2)
Bottle-nosed Dolphin Delphinus delphis - female with calf
14 species of seabird identified outside the breakwater