• 25th January, 2003 SOSSA PELAGIC TRIP, WOLLONGONG, NSW, AUSTRALIA.

    Report prepared by: P.J. Milburn.

    Departed: 07:15 returned at approx. 16:00.
    Sea conditions: NE to 0.5m at first and to 2.0m NE during the day.
    Swell: NE 1 to 2m.
    Weather: Brilliant sunshine.
    Temperature range: 22.8 to 27.5C.
    Barometric pressure: 1021 HPa falling.
    Wind: E 7 to 10kts at first, rising to NE 20 to 30 kts later.
    Sea surface temperature: 21.8 to 24.0C.

    Primary chumming location: None, several brief stops were made at different locations.

    Summary:

    A pleasant albeit breezy summer day and, although there were plenty of white caps by mid afternoon, the sea was not too uncomfortable. For those who keep an annual bird list and visitors from overseas January is always a great trip, while for others it is always something of a mystery package. A high pressure system was located in the Tasman Sea that had generated north easterly onshore breezes for several days so we were hoping for a good day.

    We encountered reasonable numbers of shearwaters and a few jaegers inshore, with Short-tailed Shearwaters being present in unusually high numbers for the season. However, much of the cruise to the continental slope was fairly uneventful.

    As expected, seabird numbers increased markedly at the 100-fathom line. The threat of a strong northeasterly wind later in the day made us reluctant to venture too far east into deeper water so we headed northeast instead. The weather did not allow us to drift and berley as we would have liked to. During this part of the trip we observed an adult SOOTY TERN and 2 LONG-TAILED JAEGERS.

    As we commenced our trip back to port we came upon a lone White-faced Storm Petrel. A large smoke plume drifting down the coast from Kurnell, to the south of Sydney, reminding us of the tribulations of drought and the bushfire awaiting us back on land.

    Highlights:

    An adult SOOTY TERN and 2 LONG-TAILED JEAGERS were identified amidst large numbers of the usual summer seabird species.

    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 56 (35)
    068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 13 (3)
    069 Wedge-tailed Shearwater P. pacificus 220+ (120+)
    071 Short-tailed Shearwater P. tenuirostris 130+ (40+)
    072 Flesh-footed Shearwater P. carneipes 45+ (20+)
    065 White-faced Storm-Petrel Pelagodroma marina 1
    104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 3 (1)
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 5 (2)
    128 Arctic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus 2 (2)
    933 LONG-TAILED JAEGER S. longicauda 2 (1)
    945 Pomarine Jaeger S. pomarinus 10 (3)
    981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 1
    125 Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae 27 (26)
    115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 6 (2)
    120 SOOTY TERN S. fuscata 1

    In the harbour:

    005 Little Penguin Eudyptula minor 1
    096 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1
    097 Little Black Cormorant P. sulcirostris 2
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 3
    115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 3
    15 species of seabird identified outside the breakwater.

    Mammals:

    None
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