• 26th July, 2003 SOSSA PELAGIC TRIP, WOLLONGONG, NSW, AUSTRALIA.

    Report prepared by: P.J. Milburn.

    Departed: 07:20 returned at approx. 15:30.
    Sea conditions: to 2.0 to 3.0m W to WSW later.
    Swell: S to 0.5m.
    Weather: Bright sunshine all day.
    Temperature range: 10.2 to 16.6C.
    Barometric pressure: 1024 HPa rising.
    Wind: W 10kts at first, increasing to W 30kts by midday, easing to WSW 20kts later in the afternoon.
    Sea surface temperature: 16.5 to 18.6C.
    Primary chumming location: none due to sea conditions

    Summary:

    The poor ocean conditions experienced earlier in the month persisted and, in combination with unfavourabale offshore winds, generated another uneventful day of pelagic seabirding. The Silver Gulls could hardly be bothered to follow the boat and perhaps the Australian Pelicans took advantage of this.

    A large high-pressure system situated SW of Tasmania generated strong westerly winds for several days prior to this trip, seemingly inviting seabirds to drift out into the Tasman Sea. The sub-antarctic seabird species expected in July were conspicuous by their absence and no marine mammals were recorded. Even Wollongong Harbour was underpopulated by birds!

    Bird numbers were low all day and so was the seabird species total. Unusually, a couple of Australian Pelicans followed us right out to the edge of the continental shelf, which left us wondering how they would cope with returning to shore into the teeth of the strong westerly wind.

    Highlights:

    An unusual winter record of an adult dark morph LONG-TAILED JAEGER.

    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)

    971 Solanders Petrel Pterodroma solandri 14 (7)
    068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 7 (2)
    088 Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophrys 45 (9)
    864 Indic Yellow-nosed Albatross T. carteri 11 (3)
    104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 15 (5)
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 5 (3)
    980 Brown Skua Catharacta lonnbergi 2 (2)
    933 LONG-TAILED JAEGER Stercorarius longicauda 1 dark morph adult
    981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 1
    125 Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae 84 (49)
    114 White-fronted Tern Sterna striata 2 (2)
    115 Crested Tern S. bergii 23 (8)

    In the harbour:

    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 11

    12 species of seabird identified outside the breakwater.

    Other birds:

    None

    Mammals:
    None
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