Report prepared by: P.J. Milburn.
Departed: 07:20 returned at approx. 15:00.
Sea conditions: Calm at first to W 2.0 to 2.5m on our return trip.
Swell: to 0.5m SE.
Weather: Bright sunshine.
Temperature range: 16.0 to 22.0°C.
Barometric pressure: 1015 HPa rising.
Wind: Calm at first, SSW 15kts during the morning, and W 20 to 40kts gusts in the afternoon.
Sea surface temperature: 16.8 to 18.0°C.
Primary chumming location: 34° 36’S : 151° 14’E.
A low-pressure system was centered over the NSW coast and a high-pressure system in the Great Australian Bight was moving east. The morning broke clear and calm but a strong westerly change was predicted later in the day. Without further ado we headed due east for deep water resisting the temptation to stop and watch cetaceans.
Immediately outside the breakwater we ran into flocks of shearwaters that included six species. Excellent views of all species were obtained under ideal conditions.
On our passage out to the continental slope we encountered both species of Giant-Petrel, several Brown Skua and an assortment of Albatross. At the continental shelf break a SSW breeze picked up and conditions were simply perfect for viewing seabirds. At the 200-fathom line we stopped the boat and berleyed for an hour. Unusually, an adult Kelp Gull fed behind the boat for a while. This species is normally seen in inshore waters only in NSW.
Only minutes after we began our return trip, the strong westerly change came through. This effectively put an end to birdwatching due the to tons of spray flying from the bows.
No rarities were recorded but a very pleasant early spring day on the ocean.
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)
929 Southern Giant-Petrel Macronectes giganteus 1
937 Northern Giant-Petrel M. halli 1
075 Great-winged Petrel Pterodroma macroptera gouldi 2 (2)
971 Solander’s Petrel P. solandri 9 (5)
068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 250+ (250+)
913 Hutton’s Shearwater P. huttoni 500+ (500+)
069 Wedge-tailed Shearwater P. pacificus 500+ (150+)
070 Sooty Shearwater P. griseus 1
071 Short-tailed Shearwater P. tenuirostris 11 (7)
072 Flesh-footed Shearwater P. carneipes 2 (2)
847 Gibson’s Albatross Diomedea gibsoni 19 (12)
088 Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophrys 32 (25)
859 Campbell Albatross T. impavida 2 (2)
091 Shy Albatross T. cauta 1 first year
861 White-capped Albatross T. steadi 1
864 Indic Yellow-nosed Albatross T. carteri 1
100 Little Pied Cormorant Phalacrocorax melanoleucos 1
104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 4 (2)
106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 1
980 Brown Skua Catharacta lonnbergi 3 (1)
981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 2 (1)
125 Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae 100+ (65+)
115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 36 (14)
In the harbour:
096 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1
097 Little Black Cormorant P. sulcirostris 6
099 Pied Cormorant P. varius 2
100 Little Pied Cormorant P. melanoleucos 1
106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 6
115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 1
23 species of seabird identified outside the breakwater.
Humpback Whale Megaptera novaeangliae 2 (2)
Short-beaked Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 5 (5)
Australian Fur-Seal 2 (2)