|Port Stephens Pelagic Trip Report - Saturday 22nd October
Boat: M.V. Argonaut, skippered by Ray Horsefield
After 5 straight cancelled trips due to dangerous conditions we were greeted with dead calm seas and winds. Conditions were calm most of the day with a .5m to 1m swell and a light NE wind. Afternoon saw the NE wind increase to around 10-15knots. Great conditions for comfort but maybe not so birdwise.
There were no 'specials' seen on the trip. Good numbers of Shearwater sp. were constant. Reasonable numbers of Wilsons Storm-petrels kept our eyes trained for Black-bellieds. A few Wanderers and a Shy Albatross.
Departed Nelson Bay wharf at 7am and returned at 430pm
A misty morning and we passed through the heads without seeing land. An iintial flurry of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters kept people busy, with a few 1st timers on board. Small numbers of Short-tailed Shearwaters made short apperances as they directed their flight south.
An uneventful next 10km's or so until more Wedgeys appeared, chumming commenced to try a get some followers to drag in the unknown. Wedge-tailed Shearwaters picked up the scent and we soon had around 40-50 birds following the boat. Silver Gulls appeared and we soon had 12 behind the boat which stayed with us most of the day. A lone White-fronted Tern and 3 Australasian Gannets flew by.
The first Flesh-footed Shearwater showed and just short of the shelf we had a young Black-browed Albatross and a Wilsons Storm-petrel show interest. Upon reaching the shelf the oily rag went out and we immeadiately had about 6 Wilsons Storm-petrels in the slick. After half an hour at the shelf we had a Great-winged Petrel arrive and soon after a Providence Petrel. These two birds came and went and were deemed the only of their species seen all day. A sinlge Cape Petrel flew in and immeadiately begun feeding. The first of 3 Wanderers turned up as did our only White-faced Storm-petrel. One Wanderer was extremely hungry and was reaching up to the ladel to grab the chicken mince! A second young Black-browed Alby turned up and we soon had a Shy Alby sitting at the rear of the boat. Just before leaving the shelf a Huttons Shearwater did its customary fly by. The Wilsons had grown to about 40 birds in the slick but no Black-bellieds were seen.
The trip back to port was fairly uneventful.Shearwaters followed us right to the heads as did the two Black-browed Albys. No more species were added to the list. Short-beaked Common Dolphins were with us most of the time at the shelf hanging around under the boat for sometime.
Species: Total (maximum number around the boat at one time)
White-faced Storm-petrel: 1 (1)
Wilsons Storm-petrel: 42 (40)
Black-browed Albatross: 2 (2)
Shy Albatross: 1 (1) (cauta)
Wandering Albatross: 3 (3) (gibsons)
Short-tailed Shearwater: 50 (4)
Wedge-tailed Shearwater: 300 (80)
Flesh-footed Shearwtaer: 12 (6)
Huttons Shearwater: 1
Fluttering Type Shearwater: 4
Cape Petrel: 1 (1)
Providence Petrel: 1 (1)
Great Winged Petrel: 1 (1)
Australasian Gannet: 3
White-fronted Tern: 1
Silver Gull: 16 (12)
Short-beaked Common Dolphin: 60-70
Humpback Whale: 2