• 22nd September 2001 SOSSA WOLLONGONG PELAGIC REPORT, NSW, AUSTRALIA.

    Report prepared by: P.J. Milburn.

    Departed: 07:15 returned at approx. 17:00.
    Sea conditions: Calm at first and waves to 1.0m NE late in the afternoon.
    Swell: to 1.0m SE.
    Weather: Sunny with patchy cloud later, 14 to 26C.
    Barometric pressure: 1024 steady.
    Wind: Light and variable until NE 10 to 15 kts in mid afternoon.
    Sea surface temperature: 18.9 to 20.4C.
    Primary chumming location: S 34 27' - E 151 24'.

    Summary:

    A wonderful spring day and calm seas, ideal for sighting marine mammals but not really conducive to keeping procellariiformes on the wing. Perhaps the predicted north-easterly change would help later in the day. Small numbers of Hutton's and Fluttering Shearwater were searching the reefs just offshore from Wollongong Harbour with a single Wedge-tailed Shearwater in their midst. In the calm conditions it was easy to find Little Penguin also foraging over these reefs. Considerably more obvious in these quiet waters was a New Zealand Fur Seal.

    The number of Wedge-tailed Shearwater following the boat increased steadily as we proceeded toward the continental slope. Once in deeper water, the first Flesh-footed Shearwater of the spring boat trips was encountered adding interest to an otherwise quiet passage.

    As usual, once wide of the continental shelf proceedings livened up! Solander's Petrel were encountered with a group of Pygmy Killer Whale, which in turn were somehow involved with a melee of modestly sized Yellowfin Tuna. The only notable bird in the mob was a single Common Tern.

    At our chumming location in 450 fathoms of water, a Gibson's Albatross, 2 Cape Petrel and a Wilson's and a White-faced Storm Petrel appeared obligingly.

    Following the recent trend, the trip back to harbour provided further interest. Still in 185 fathoms were joined briefly by a flock of 45 Little Black Cormorants and a single Great Cormorant, which alighted in our wake. While these birds are frequently observed inshore in small numbers this was an unprecedented event for Wollongong pelagic trips. Southern Humpback Whales were also encountered, which entertained us with a protracted display of breaching.

    Highlights:

    Up to 6 Southern Humpback Whales breaching.

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

    005 Little Penguin Eudyptula minor 15 (5)
    080 Cape Petrel Daption capense australe 2 (2)
    971 Solander's Petrel Pterodroma solandri 17 (12)
    068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 70+ (50+)
    917 Hutton's Shearwater P. huttoni 5 (2)
    069 Wedge-tailed Shearwater P. pacificus 300+ (150+)
    071 Short-tailed Shearwater P. tenuirostris 3 (1)
    072 Flesh-footed Shearwater P. carneipes 12 (8)
    847 Gibson's Albatross Diomedea gibsoni 1
    859 Campbell Albatross Thalassarche impavida 1
    063 Wilson's Storm-Petrel Oceanites oceanicus 1
    065 White-faced Storm-Petrel Pelagodroma marina 1
    104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 5 (2)
    096 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1
    097 Little Black Cormorant P. sulcirostris 45 (45)
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 1
    981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 4 (3)
    125 Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae 34 (15)
    115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 30 (12)
    953 Common Tern S. hirundo 1

    In the harbour:

    096 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1
    097 Little Black Cormorant P. sulcirostris 1
    115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 120 species of seabird identified outside the breakwater.

    Mammals:

    New Zealand Fur Seal 1
    Common Dolphin 6
    Pygmy Killer Whale 3+
    Souhtern Humpback Whale 6
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