Report prepared by: P.J. Milburn.
Departed: 07:20 returned at approx. 16:30.
Sea conditions: 1.0 to 1.5m S at first rising to 1.5 to 2.0m S at times during the day.
Swell: S 2 to 3m at times.
Weather: Mostly overcast with occasional showers but also substantial sunny periods.
Temperature range: 16.1 to 20.5°C.
Barometric pressure: 1025 HPa rising.
Wind: S 10 kts at first, rising to S 18 kts, dropping to light breezes, followed by SW 10 to 15 kts later.
Sea surface temperature: 21.9 to 23.2°C.
Primary chumming location: S 34° 42’ – E 151° 18’.
A cool southerly breeze gave the morning a wintry feel. The weather closed during the morning and in a rising southerly we punched out into a southerly sea. After buffeting through a couple of rain squalls the wind suddenly dropped and in ameliorating weather we turned east and headed out into deep water.
In crystal clear air and early morning sun, the first tube nose of the day was a Sooty Shearwater that provided brilliant views. For once I could see the barred under primary coverts as the bird passed within 5m of the stern. However few other birds joined as we headed southwest into the sea. A couple of Flesh-footed Shearwaters reminded us that it was autumn and not winter! At the continental shelf break we encountered a few Wedge-tailed and Short-tailed Shearwaters along with a few Solander’s Petrels. It seemed clear that we had attracted all the birds in the area and that amounted to just a handful….
After the rain squalls we experienced a sudden weather change, winter disappeared and balmy autumn conditions returned. We responded by swinging our course to due east but apart from one Wilson’s Storm-Petrel few new birds were encountered. Stopping in about 800 fathoms of water we set up an impressive trail and waited. An adult Campbell Albatross joined fairly soon along with another Wilson’s Storm-Petrel. Several Solander’s Petrels were joined briefly by a Great-winger Petrel before we turned for port.
Another weather change in the form of a stiff southwesterly breeze coincided with our return trip. Interestingly, this brought a newly fledged Indic Yellow-nosed Albatross, a second year Black-browed Albatross and an adult White-capped Albatross.
Summer is clearly behind us, no Jeagers were recorded and the Wedge-tailed Shearwaters have all but departed.
Excellent views of Sooty Shearwater, Campbell and White-capped Albatross.
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 Solander’s Petrel Pterodroma solandri 9 (3)
073 Great-winged Petrel P. macroptera gouldi 1
068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 2 (2)
069 Wedge-tailed Shearwater P. pacificus 10 (5)
070 Sooty Shearwater P. griseus 4 (1)
071 Short-tailed Shearwater P. tenuirostris 16 (3)
072 Flesh-footed Shearwater P. carneipes 45 (15)
088 Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophrys 1 second year
859 Campbell Albatross T. impavida 1 adult
861 White-capped Albatross T. steadi 1 adult
089 Indic Yellow-nosed Albatross T. carteri 1 first year
063 Wilson’s Storm-Petrel, Oceanites oceanicus 4 (1)
104 Australasian Gannet, Morus serrator 15 (3)
096 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1
981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 1 first year
125 Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae 88 (47)
115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 40 (18)
188 White-faced Heron Ardea novaehollandiae 2 (2)
In the harbour:
099 Pied Cormorant Phalacrocorax varius 1
100 Little Pied Cormorant P. melanoleucos 1
115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 1
17 species of seabird identified outside the breakwater.