• 25th July 1999, Wollongong, NSW Pelagic Trip Report

    Conditions:

    Departed at 7.15 am and returned at approx. 3.00 pm.
    Sea Conditions: Sea southerly, rising 3 to 5 metres on a 1 - 3.0 metre swell.
    Weather: Cool southerly winds, generally overcastwith heavy rain squalls and even with some sunny periods later! Air temperature 8 to 15 C.
    Wind: up to 35 knots.
    Water temperature 16.5 to 17.5 degrees C.
    Primary chumming location 34 39' S - 151 09' E

    Summary:

    This was not a trip for the faint-hearted (who says birding is not a sport?). We were able to go to sea just ahead of the southerly change that passed through the area during the morning punching into the rising sea and torrential rain to reach a position at the edge of the continental shelf in 100FM of water. We used the engines to hold our position into the sea while chumming furiously for about 45 minutes. My impression was that we had arrived before the birds because at first there was not too much excitment but things just kept arriving. The ride home with a 5m sea behind us was nothing short of spectacular making even a Northern Royal Albatross difficult to locate behind the waves!! The Skipper of the Sandra K, Carl Loves, did a great job!

    The first seabird excitment of the day arrived in the form of a GREY-BACKED STORM-PETREL spotted by a keen-eyed observer clinging on to the top deck after some 15 minutes of chumminng. The bird oblingingly stayed over the slick and was later joined by a White-faced Storm-Petrel. A White-headed Petrel approached very close to the boat giving thrilling views. Several Giant Petrels sat behind the boat and scoffed most of the berley as it hit the water. Several interesting prions were noted among the Fairy Prions and a Sooty Shearwater made a brief appearance. With an air of disappointment after the recent spectacular trips we truned for home. The best was yet to come...

    The first excitment arrived in the form of a White-headed Petrel closely followed by another Sooty Shearwater. Shortly afterwards an adult BULLER'S ALBATROSS appeared at the stern which followed us for nearly an hour. This was soon joined by a first year NORTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS which was rather frustrating at first in that it flew fairly close to the boat but then alighted on the sea, almost as though it would have prefered more wind! In amongst all this excitment a sub-adult SALVIN'S ALBATROSS appeared which is a very unusual sighting indeed from Wollongong. Plenty of Shy Albatross were present allowing for clear comparison of bill colouration, head and underwing patterns. An additional adult BULLER'S ALBATROSS was observed later. One Buller's and the Northern Royal followed us until we rounded the 5 Islands.

    Birds recorded:Species code: Species name: Numbers: (Note: numbers in parenthesis = highest count at any one time)

    847 Gibson's Albatross Diomedea gibsoni 4 (2)
    973 NORTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS Diomedea sandfordi 1 first year
    864 Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross Thalassarche carteri 5 (2)
    931 BULLER'S ALBATROSS T. bulleri 2 (1) adult
    091 Shy Albatross T. cauta 35 (15)
    862 SALVIN'S ALBATROSS T. salvini1
    088 Black-browed Albatross T. melanophrys 38 (15)
    859 Campbell Albatross T. impavida 19 (5)
    073 Great-winged Petrel Pterodroma m. macroptera 4 (2)
    077 White-headed Petrel P. lessonii
    971 Providence Petrel P. solandri 20(15)
    929 Southern Giant Petrel Macronectes gigantius 8 (4)
    937 Northern Giant Petrel M. halli 4 (2)
    080 Cape Petrel Daption capense australe 23 (15)
    083 Fairy Prion Pachyptila turtur 85+ (30+)
    084 ANTARCTIC PRION P. desolata 5 (5)
    942 NARROW-BILLED PRION P. belcheri 2 (2)
    064 GREY-BACKED STORM-PETREL Nereis garrodia1
    065 White-faced Storm-Petrel Pelagodroma marina 1
    070 Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus 2 (1)
    068 Fluttering Shearwater P. gavia 7 (3)
    913 Hutton's Shearwater P. huttoni 1
    104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 23 (15)
    096 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 3 (3)
    980 Brown Skua Catharacta lonnbergi 1
    125 Silver Gull Larus novaehollandiae 750+ (700+)
    981 Kelp Gull L. dominicanus 14 (12)
    114 White-fronted Tern Sterna striata 2
    115 Crested Tern S. bergii 14 (3)

    In the harbour:

    099 Pied Cormorant Phalacrocorax varius30 species of seabird identified outside the breakwater.

    Mammals:

    Australian Fur Seal 2
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