Report prepared by: P.J. Milburn.
Departed: 07:30 returned at approx. 16:15.
Sea conditions: 1.0 to 2.0m WSW to SW later.
Swell: S to 2.0m offshore.
Weather: Sunny with cloudless skies all day.
Temperature range: 12.2 to 14.7°C.
Barometric pressure: 1018 HPa rising.
Wind: SSW 10 kts WSW at first, rising to 15 kts SW later.
Sea surface temperature: 17.2 to 17.8°C.
Primary chumming locations: S 34° 32’ – E 151° 20’, S 34° 32’ – 151° 22’.
A low-pressure system located south of Tasmania had directed strong southerly winds into southern NSW waters on the day preceding this trip. A high-pressure system over central Australia had moved overnight to the east, far enough to moderate and shifts the winds to the west. The morning was cold even with breeze behind us and it felt like no surprise when several Black-browed Albatross joined just outside the harbour. Other species were slow to appear and we were well offshore before the first Indic Yellow-nosed Albatross was identified.
As we headed into deeper waters over the continental slope the species diversity increased noticeably. We stopped at 200 fathoms to chum and attracted the first Solander’s Petrels of the day. The birds were distinctly boat shy and after we had continued out to sea we observed a number of interesting birds well astern. Doubling back towards this mixed flock we were able to identify nominate race Great-winged Petrels, Cape Petrels and a couple of Sooty Shearwaters. These birds shied away from us, setting a trend that persisted for the day. A second chumming session in 550 fathoms of water failed to produce any additional bird species but instead we were rewarded with good views of a small group of Sperm Whales.
Our return voyage yielded the first White-fronted tern of the winter, a striking adult, along with several Southern Humpbacked Whales. A possible LITTLE SHEARWATER was observed by Lindsay Smith about 5 NM offshore.
The views of Sperm and Humpbacked Whales exceeded the thrills provided by seabirds on a pleasant winter day.
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)
080 Cape Petrel Daption capense australe 2 (2)
075 Great-winged Petrel Pterodroma m. macroptera 6 (6)
971 Solander’s Petrel P. solandri 8 (2)
083 Fairy Prion Pachyptila turtur 170+ (75+)
068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 4 (1)
913 Hutton’s Shearwater P. huttoni 2 (1)
070 Sooty Shearwater P. griseus 2 (2)
088 Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophrys 15 (2)
859 Campbell Albatross T. impavida 7 (2)
861 White-capped Albatross T. steadi 5 (2)
864 Indic Yellow-nosed Albatross T. carteri 24 (12)
063 Wilson’s Storm-Petrel Oceanites oceanicus 1
104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 10 (2)
106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 1
980 Brown Skua Catharacta lonnbergi 1
981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 6 (4)
125 Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae 400+ (350+)
114 White-fronted Tern Sterna striata 1
115 Crested Tern S. bergii 16 (7)
In the harbour:
100 Little Pied Cormorant P. melanoleucos 4
101 Australian Darter Anhinga melanogaster 1 male
106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus4
115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 1
125 Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae 35
19 species of seabird identified outside the breakwater.
Humpback Whale Megaptera novaeangliae 5
Sperm Whale Physeter macrocephalus 6