• 26th October, 2002 SOSSA PELAGIC TRIP, WOLLONGONG, NSW, AUSTRALIA.

    Report prepared by: P.J. Milburn.

    Departed: 07:20 returned at approx. 11:00.
    Sea conditions: S 2.5 to 3.5m offshore.
    Swell: S 2.0 to 3.0m offshore.
    Weather: Overcast throughout.
    Temperature range: 12.2 to 17.3įC.
    Barometric pressure: 1008 HPa rising.
    Wind: S 25 to 30kts.
    Sea surface temperature: 16.8 to 17.6įC.
    Primary chumming location: sea to rough to stop!

    Summary:

    Another trip compromised by bad weather! A low-pressure system in the Tasman Sea and a high-pressure system in the Great Australian Bight generated strong southerly winds overnight. The hardy contingent of international visitors dispelled any notion of canceling this trip. It was a case of donning the waterproof gear and hanging on tightlyÖ.. AGAIN!

    The heavy seas enforced a southerly course that saw us edging out towards the continental slope. Large numbers of shearwaters were present inshore and good views were obtained of all the species present.

    After more than 2 hours or punching into the sea we reached the 50-fathom mark and the cohort of seabirds following the boat included a first year Campbell Albatross. A female Gibsonís Albatross joined the throng feeding very close to the boat. Interestingly, an Australian Pelican dominated the Gibsonís Albatross in the competition for food scraps.

    With a number of people very seasick we elected to run back to harbour. Chumming heavily we attracted a White-capped Albatross and a Black-browed Albatross on our return trip.

    Highlights:

    A female Gibsonís Albatross foraging very close to the boat and large numbers of shearwaters close inshore.

    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)

    068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 500+ (300+)
    913 Huttonís Shearwater P. huttoni 200+ (100)
    069 Wedge-tailed Shearwater P. pacificus 45 (35)
    071 Short-tailed Shearwater P. tenuirostris 1000+ (400+)
    847 Gibsonís Albatross, Diomedea gibsoni 1
    088 Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophrys 1
    859 Campbell Albatross T. impavida 1
    861 White-capped Albatross T. steadi 1
    104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 8 (2)
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 1
    128 Arctic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus 3 (1)
    981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 12 (5)
    125 Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae 60+ (40+)
    114 White-fronted Tern Sterna striata 1
    115 Crested Tern S. bergii 15+ (5)
    953 Common Tern S. hirundo 1

    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

    16 species of seabird identified outside the breakwater.

    Mammals:

    Short-beaked Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 6