• 4th August 2001 WOLLONGONG SOSSA PELAGIC TRIP REPORT, NSW, AUSTRALIA

    Report prepared by: P.J. Milburn.

    Conditions:


    Departed at 7.15 am and returned at approx.4.30 pm.
    Sea Conditions: Sea slight, 0.5 to 1.0 metres at first, increasing later.
    Swell 1to 1.5 metre, SE.
    Weather: Glorious sunshine all day. Max. 18C
    Barometeric pressure: 1025 HPa
    Wind: Light in the morning 5 knots NW to moderate 15 to 20 kts NW later.
    Water temperature 19.7 to 21.8 degrees C.
    Primary chumming location S 34 34' - E 151 13'.

    Summary:

    The extraordinary winter conditions continue. This trip resulted from the cancellation the regular July SOSSA Wollongong Boat Trip scheduled for the previous weekend due to near cyclonic conditions. The sea temperatures were some 3C above those expected for this time of year.

    We departed the harbour in a light NW breeze. Just outside the harbour were several hundred Fluttering Shearwaters. As we were cruising through the small flocks we were joined briefly by a Northern Giant-Petrel.

    Small numbers of birds attended the boat as were motored out to the shelf break and to our suprise we encountered groups of flying fish. Unusually, a 2nd year Kelp Gull followed us to the continental break were we found group of Pygmy Killer Whales, which added to the summery atmosphere of the trip. In close attendance were several Solander's Petrels and a White-faced Storm-Petrel which payed no attention to us. Not suprisingly the ovewrall number of sub-antarctic birds was very low. As we stopped the boat to begin chumming 2 ARTCTIC TERN in breeding plumage came by in close investigation.

    The number of Solander's Petrel was high for this unusual winter but not remarkable for a 'normal' season. The nor'westerly picked up in the afternoon but this brought little change in the birds but instead we were treated to the companmy of 500+ Common Dolphins of the small acrobatic type that abound in winter. A large flock of Kelp Gulls met the boat on the way back to the harbour. One of several banded birds was captured, which had been banded as a chick by SOSSA (LES) in 1987 on Bass Island, Port Kembla.

    Highlights:

    Fantastic views of Pygmy Killer Whales and 2 ARTCTIC TERN in breeding plumage.

    Birds recorded according to latest Environment Australia Reporting Schedule:Species code: Species name: NumbersNote: numbers in parenthesis = highest count at any one time)

    937 Northern Giant Petrel Macronectes giganteus 1
    080 Cape Petrel Daption capense australe 1
    971 Solander's Petrel P. solandri 55+ (25+)
    083 Fairy Prion Pachyptila turtur 14 (5)
    942 SLENDER-BILLED PRION P. belcheri 1 (1)
    068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 300+ (300+)
    070 Hutton's Shearwater P. huttoni 2 (1)
    088 Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophrys 11 (5) only two adults
    859 Campbell Albatross T. impavida 2 only one adult
    091 Shy Albatross T. cauta 2 (2)
    864 Indic Yellow-nosed Albatross T. carteri 16 (4)
    065 White-faced Storm-Petrel Pelagodroma marina 3 (1)
    104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 12 (10)
    981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 30+ (30+)
    125 Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae 300+ (100+)
    115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 45+ (20+)
    114 White-fronted Tern S. striata 1 adult
    952 ARCTIC TERN S. paradisaea 2 (2) adults in breeding plumage

    In the harbour:

    100 Little Pied Cormorant Phalacrocorax melanoleucos 1
    101 Darter Anhinga melanogaster 1
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 7
    981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 1 adult
    115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 318 species of seabird identified outside the breakwater.

    Mammals:

    Pygmy Killer Whale 12
    'Pygmy' Common Dolphin 500+
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