• 28th March 1999 WOLLONGONG PELAGIC TRIP REPORT, NSW, AUSTRALIA

    Departed at 7.15 am and returned at approx. 2.30 pm.
    Sea UGLY+ rising to over 3m later with a S swell increasing from1.5 to 3.0 m.
    Winds S from 15 to 35 Kts with much stronger squalls.
    Weather variable, rain squalls early, clearing with bright periods later in the day.
    Air temperature range: 18 to 24 C.
    Water temperature 19.9 to 22.3 degrees C.

    A highly atypical March trip with a strong southerly change passing through the area. With an intrepid group abord eager to see typical March specialities, in particular Streaked Shearwater and Grey Ternlet, we headed out to sea even though it was already pretty rough conditions and we would not reach deep water. We headed south into the sea knowing that as conditions worsened we would be able to run home with sea behind. I expected that broken bones would be the most likely outcome of the trip but instead we were treated to views of GREY TERNLET (which was very hard to pick up under the rough conditions) and a STREAKED SHEARWATER which attended the boat for lengthy periods. Eventually, sitting behind the boat!

    We went a long way south and managed to reach some 18 NM E of Kiama where we held our position into the sea and attempted to bereley in birds when no birds had been recorded for about 30 minutes! After an hour or we had attracted a pretty impressive crowd with no fewer than 7 species of shearwater being included!

    We encountered the GREY TERNLET about 7NM out in 35FM at a warm current. Miraculously, the STREAKED SHEARWATER appeared out of the boiling sea right behind the boat, about 5 minutes after we began optimistically throwing fish scraps into an ocean apparently devoid of birds. My highlight of the day was our unusual mammal sighting......... for many others it was feel of solid ground after being reminded about the power of the ocean!!

    THE BIRDS
    (Note: numbers in brackets = highest count at any one time)

    Little Penguin 6 (3), near the 5 Island Group.
    Great-winged Petrel 67 (65)
    Wedge-tailed Shearwater 38 (25)
    Fluttering Shearwater 24 (8)
    Hutton's Shearwater 3 (2)
    Short-tailed Shearwater 2 (1)
    Sooty Shearwater 1
    Flesh-footed Shearwater 113 (85)
    STREAKED SHEARWATER 1
    Australasian Gannet 63 (27)
    Australian Pelican 200+: at 5 Islands
    Parasitic Jeager 10 (7); including some stunning fresh plumage adults!
    Pomarine Jeager 15 (10)
    Silver Gull ~175 (150)
    Kelp Gull 1 (1)1st year.
    Crested Tern 5 (4); low numbers, probably due to rough weather.
    GREY TERNLET 1; 7NM offshore


    White-faced Heron 2; at sea, heading north (south seemed pretty unlikely in
    this weather!)

    17 species of seabird identified - away from the breakwater

    Mammals:

    Mastif Bat sp. heading north about 4 miles out to sea!
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