Report prepared by: Lindsay E. Smith

    This pelagic trip was over inshore (Neric) waters, organised by SOSSA on behalf of the Illawarra Bird Observer’s Club

    Departed: 07.30 hrs
    Return 11.30 hrs

    Sea conditions: 1.0 -1.5m sea on a low 05-1.5m swells from the east.

    Swell: North east to 1.5 metres 1.5 - 2.0 metres offshore.
    Weather: Bright morning with scattered cloud.

    Temperature range: 14-30 °C.

    Barometric pressure: 1016Hp

    Wind: North east 5 - 10 knots rising to 30knts later in the afternoon

    Sea surface temperature: 18°-19.6°

    Primary chumming location Trap reef

    Summary: Half Day Trip – Illawarra Bird Observers Group

    We headed out under the influence of a high pressure system 1016hp over the coast
    There were few birds inshore. We headed out to the Wollongong reef where the bulk carriers lay at anchor. A few Crested Terns and the occasional Fluttering shearwater, one or two Black-browed albatrosses (Juveniles) followed in our wake. Conditions for birds, was much quieter than last trip. The early light was very favourable and the conditions ideal for boating, and an introduction to a pelagic trip.

    As we stopped briefly at the Trap reef, the Black-browed albatrosses which had been following began to approach the boat. Wedge-tailed shearwaters joined the melee at the stern of the boat. The occasional small group of Fluttering or Hutton’s shearwaters would pass us by, not coming to the boat.

    The Silver Gulls were in small flocks, the breeding season on the Five Islands is well underway and many Gulls followed. Crested Terns were in good numbers and were joined by White-fronted and Common Terns, as well as Kelp Gulls.

    From the trap reef we headed down to the Five Islands Nature Reserve to observe the birds breeding there. There were large numbers of Silver Gulls, Australian White Ibis and Australian Pelicans along with lesser numbers of Crested Terns. Many colonies and creches of Pelicans were observed from the boat. Australian White Ibis could be seen standing on nests, perched on the Bitu and Coprosma bushes.

    The biggest surprise, for most people on board was the Fur-seals hauled out on the islands.
    As we headed back to the harbour we past close by to Flinder’s Island to check on the Sooty Oystercatchers and Kelp Gulls there.

    Thank you to all that attended the day. We hope it was a pleasant and memorable day for all.


    Birds recorded according to the Environment Australia Reporting Schedule:

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

    069 Wedge-tailed Shearwater Puffinus pacificus 50+ (30)
    068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 30+ (10+)
    088 Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophris 40+ Adults and Juveniles
    104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 4 (2)
    106 Australian Pelican Pelecannus conspicillatus 200+ breeding (6) in harbour
    115 Crested Tern Sterna bergi 100+ breeding
    114 White-fronted Tern Sterna striata 2 (1)
    125 Silver Gull Larus noveahollandia 100’s breeding
    981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 3 (2)

    Bottle-nosed Dolphins
    Australian and New Zealand Fur-Seals


    Future Trips:
    All Pelagic Trips from NSW are operated at no profit to the organizers, being operated as group boat charters for the benefit of all who wish to join us. If you would like to join one of these trips please contact us as detailed below:

    To make a booking on the regular SOSSA Wollongong Pelagic Trips. Which departs on the 4th Saturday of each month. Contact: SOSSA: Phone 02 4272 4626 Email: sossa@tpg.com.au For further information in regards to other trips.
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