• 11th August 2001 WOLLONGONG SOSSA PELAGIC RESEARCH TRIP REPORT, NSW, AUSTRALIA

    Report prepared by: P.J. Milburn.

    Conditions:


    Departed at 7.30 am and returned at approx.4.30 pm.
    Sea Conditions: calm at first, increasing later to slight. Swell to 1 metre, SE.
    Weather: Glorious sunshine all day. Max. 21C
    Barometeric pressure: 1023 HPa rising
    Wind: Calm to 10 kts NW later.
    Water temperature 18.4 to 21.0 degrees C.
    Primary chumming location S 34 29' - E 151 19'.

    Summary:

    Another summer day in winter, although the sea temperatures had fallen over the previous week. Calm weather with no fronts in the offing led us to expect a lovely day for cruising but not many seabirds. A disappointing day for the number of species and individuals, however, one outstanding rarity was recorded. CORY'S SHEARWATER has not been recorded previously on a Pelagic Trip from Wollongong.

    We departed the harbour to find ourselves on a glass smooth ocean. At least it would be a goood day for sighting fish, cetaceans etc. We easily saw a couple of Little Pengiun and a number of seals basking on the surface. Further out we encountered a small Striped Marlin and small numbers of albatross and shearwaters. In 80 fathoms we were joined by Common Dolphins in crystal clear water. In the bright sunlight with a glass smooth ocean this was a memorable experience!

    Small numbers of birds attended the boat as we sat motionless far beyond the continental shelf break. After 2 hours a sperm whale was spotted in the distance causing everyone to move to the front of the boat. Unfortunately,the whale sounded soon after and as we set off for port a CORY'S SHEARWATER passed across the stern of the boat. The bird typically stayed close to the surface but gave a brilliant view of the underwing pattern as it rode over a small swell. Sadly, the bird did not tarry and was seen by very few people as most on board were still looking for whales.... sometimes it pays to be the one throwing in the chum!

    Highlights:

    Stunning views of Common Dolphins and CORY'S SHEARWATER within 50m of the boat.

    Birds recorded 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 (2)
    079 Giant Petrel Macronectes sp 1
    971 Solander's Petrel P. solandri 3 (3)
    083 Fairy Prion Pachyptila turtur 10 6)
    068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 19 (9)
    070 Hutton's Shearwater P. huttoni 3 (2)
    000 CORY'S SHEARWATER Calonectris diomedea 1
    088 Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophrys 11 (5)
    859 Campbell Albatross T. impavida 1
    864 Indic Yellow-nosed Albatross T. carteri 11 (3)
    980 Brown Skua Catharacta lonnbergi 1 (1)
    104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 5 (2)
    981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 7 (7)
    125 Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae 85+ (45+)
    115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 41 (26)
    114 White-fronted Tern S. striata 3 (2)

    In the harbour:

    115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 1
    100 Little Pied Cormorant Phalacrocorax melanoleucos 2
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 315 species of seabird identified outside the breakwater.

    Mammals:

    Australain Fur Seal 8 (5)
    Sperm Whale 1
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