• 24th November, 2001 SOSSA PELAGIC TRIP, WOLLONGONG, NSW, AUSTRALIA.

    Report prepared by: P.J. Milburn.

    Departed: 07:30 returned at approx. 16:30.
    Sea conditions: NW to 0.5m at first and to 1.5m NE late in the afternoon.
    Swell: 2.0 to 2.5m NE, with a SE cross swell at first.
    Weather: Cloudy with brighter periods, clearing later, 17 to 26C.
    Barometric pressure: 1007 falling.
    Wind: NW 10kts rising to NNE 20 to 25 kts by mid morning.
    Sea surface temperature: 20.8 to 21.6C.
    Primary chumming location: S 34 24' - E 151 18'.

    Summary:

    This proved to be challenging day on a sea that had been stirred up by southerly storms during the preceding week. Moderate to fresh northeasterly winds had been forecast with local storms, favourable conditions for the arrival of unusual species at this time of year.

    We cruised out to the limit of the Continental Shelf with the NW breeze behind us although the cross swell made for a bumpy ride. Low numbers of the usual shearwaters were present along with a few Jaegers. As we neared the 100- fathom line a first year Indic Yellow-nosed Albatross was sighted over our wake to the effusive delight of our visitors from overseas. At around the same time the wind veered north easterly and freshened.

    As a result of the deteriorating conditions we cruised northeast edging out to the 200 fathom-line. Shortly after changing course an adult Shy Albatross joined the growing throng of birds following us. This was the first adult that I have seen on a Wollongong boat trip even though it is not a rare species per se. We held our position into the sea for a while and berleyed enthusiastically. Our reward soon appeared in the form of a BLACK PETREL that was joined subsequently by a second individual. Several Wilson's Strom-Petrels were attracted to the boat during this period. An hour later, a repeat performance several nautical miles to the northeast lured another BLACK PETREL to the boat.

    No further unusual species were identified but during the trip back to harbour we attracted an impressive cloud of Pomarine Jaegers. By contrast no Long-tailed Jaegers were sighted during the trip and Arctic Jaeger numbers were very low.

    Highlights:

    Several BLACK PETRELS and an adult Shy Albatross were viewed at close range for long periods. The latter is a very rare sighting in Wollongong waters.

    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)

    073 Great-winged Petrel Pterodroma macroptera gouldi 30+ (20+)
    917 BLACK PETREL Procellaria parkinsoni 3 (2)
    068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 1
    917 Hutton's Shearwater P. huttoni 3 (1)
    069 Wedge-tailed Shearwater P. pacificus 100+ (75+)
    070 Sooty Shearwater P. griseus 4 (1)
    071 Short-tailed Shearwater P. tenuirostris 4 (2)
    072 Flesh-footed Shearwater P. carneipes 22 (20)
    091 Shy Albatross Thalassarche cauta 1 adult
    864 Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross T. carteri 1 first year
    063 Wilson's Storm-Petrel Oceanites oceanicus 3 (3)
    104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 1
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 4 (4)
    128 Arctic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus 2 (1)
    945 Pomarine Jaeger S. pomarinus 57 (32)
    981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 1
    125 Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae 26 (16)
    115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 17 (15)

    In the harbour:

    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 1
    115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 1

    18 species of seabird identified outside the breakwater.

    Mammals:

    None observed
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