• 27th JANUARY 2001, WOLLONGONG PELAGIC TRIP REPORT, NSW, AUSTRALIA

    Report prepared by: P.J. Milburn

    Conditions:

    Departed at 7.20 am and returned at approx.4.20 pm.
    Sea Conditions: Seas slight to moderate, 0.5 to 1.5 metres after the southerly change; swell 1 to 2 metre, south easterly, abating in the afternoon
    Weather: Variable between full cloud cover to full sunshine. Min 22C to Max. 28C
    Barometeric pressure: 1006 HPa falling
    Wind: Light, to 10 kts north easterly in the morning veering to moderate 15 to 20 kts southerly in the afternoon.
    Water temperature 23.4 to 26.3 degrees C.
    Primary chumming location: S 34 26' : E 151 33

    Summary:

    A substantial mixed species flock of shearwaters was less than a mile outside the harbour. We criused slowly through these birds for about 20 minutes. Nothing unusual was sighted but very good views of the usual 6 species of shearwater were had by all. Unfortunately, the overcast conditions precluded photography. Unusually high numbers of Hutton's Shearwater were present for the mid-summer season. Several Little Penguin were amonst the feeding shearwaters.

    As we headed east we encountered small groups of shearwaters and the water temperature continued to climb. At the 100 fathom contour we encountered our first group of SOOTY TERNS in company with shearwaters. This was to be the pattern for the day. Once the sun appeared from behind the cloud banks it felt very warm cruising through 26C water. A single EASTERN CURLEW was observed flying south. Ultimately, we were lucky enough to witness a TAHITI PETREL very close to the boat. Sadly for those who had already fallen asleep it did not linger.....

    The low number of Slender-billed Shearwaters is typical for the season and is not likely to be related to recent wrecks.

    Highlights:

    Frequent sightings of SOOTY TERN throughout the day and a good view of a TAHITI PETREL alongside the boat.Birds recorded (positively identified) according to latest Environment
    Australia Reporting Schedule:Species code: Species name: NumbersNote: numbers in parenthesis = highest count at any one time)005 Little Penguin Eudyptula minor 2
    075 Great-winged Petrel Pterodroma macroptera gouldi 11 (6)
    920 TAHITI PETREL Pseudobulweria rostrata 1
    068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 3 (2)
    913 Hutton's Shearwater P. huttoni 47 (30+)
    069 Wedge-tailed Shearwater P. pacificus 1200+ (500+)
    070 Sooty Shearwtater P. griseus 5 (2)
    071 Slender-billed Shearwater P. tenuirostris 11 (4)
    072 Flesh-footed Shearwater P. carneipes 25 (12)
    099 Pied Cormorant Phalacrocorax varius 2 (2)
    128 Arctic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus 2 (1)
    933 LONG-TAILED JAEGER S. longicada 2 (1)
    945 Pomarine Jaeger S. pomarinus 2 (1)
    981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 2 (1)
    125 Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae 8 (5)
    115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 3 (1)
    120 SOOTY TERN S. fuscata 40 (11)

    In the harbour:

    100 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 2
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 4
    981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 1
    115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 116 species of seabird identified outside the breakwater.

    Mammals:

    None observed.
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