Report prepared by: M.C. Double
Departed: 07:15 returned at approx. 15:45.
Sea conditions: to 1.5m SE
Swell: SE to 1.5m.
Weather: Overcast, cloud persisting during the day.
Wind: SE 10-15kts
Sea surface temperature: 23°C.
Primary chumming location: Not applicable.
The winds from the south working against a current from the north produced very sloppy sea conditions and an unexpectedly tougher day at sea than is usual for this time of year. So much for a Xmas pleasure cruise off Wollongong!
Just outside the harbour several groups of Short-tailed Shearwaters wheeled passed the boat but at that stage only only a Kelp Gull and Silver Gulls were interested in our burley trail. As we cruised south-east, the usual assortment of summer shearwaters (short-tailed, wedge-tailed, Huttons and Fluttering) plus a single Pomarine Jaeger gradually built up the assemblage of species behind the boat. After an hour at sea, Flesh-footed Shearwaters and a single BULLER'S SHEARWATER boosted our number of shearwater species for the trip.
As we approached the continental shelf a single LONG-TAILED JAEGER and a single WHITE-CAPPED ALBATROSS were spotted and the latter stayed with the boat for the next few hours. Soon GREAT-WINGED PETRELS were in good numbers and a BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS and WHITE-FACED STORM-PETREL added to our species tally for the day.
On the return trip both albatrosses stayed with the boat until we approached the inner reefs and a persistent second visit by a BULLER'S SHEARWATER ensured all on board had got great views of this uncommon species.
This was a rough summer trip and many on board struggled with the conditions. Even so, to see two albatross species was a bonus for this time of year and a Buller's shearwater is a bird not to be missed.
Birds recorded according to the latest Dept. of Environment and Heritage Reporting Schedule:
Species code: Species name: Numbers:
(Note: numbers in parenthesis = highest count at any one time)
073 Great-winged Petrel Pterodroma macroptera gouldi
068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia
917 Hutton’s Shearwater P. huttoni
069 Wedge-tailed Shearwater P. pacificus
071 Short-tailed Shearwater P. tenuirostris
072 Flesh-footed Shearwater P. carneipes
975 Buller’s Shearwater, Puffinus bullerii
861 White-capped Albatross T. steadi
088 Black-browed Albatross T. melanophris
065 White-faced Storm-Petrel Pelagodroma marinus
104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator
106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus
933 Long-tailed Jaeger S. longicauda
945 Pomarine Jaeger S. pomarinus
981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus
125 Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae
115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii
In the harbour:
106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 2
115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 1
Australian Hobby Falco longipennis
17 species of seabird identified outside the breakwater.