Report prepared by: Lindsay E. Smith.

    Departed: 0705 hrs
    Return 1610 hrs

    Sea conditions: 1 5m on a 2.0m swell from the east.

    Weather: Overcast for most of the morning 6/10 cloud clearing in the afternoon.

    Temperature range: 16-23 0 °C.

    Barometric pressure: 1024Hp

    Wind: North east 10 - 12 knots.

    Sea surface temperature: 18.6°- 20.5°

    Primary chumming location: 450 fathoms Lat 34.34.32 Long 151.20.31

    The winds had abated to 10 knots before increasing to 12-15knots in the afternoon. We headed out under the influence of a high pressure system 1024hp over the coast.

    There were very few birds inshore a few Crested Terns and the occasional Fluttering and Wedge-tailed Shearwaters.
    Conditions for birds were generally quite good, however the early light was very poor and conditions were far from ideal for seeing the birds.

    As we reached the Trap Reef, a Buller’s Shearwater created a bit of excitement as it appeared amongst the Wedge-tails following the boat, giving all on board good views of this seldom encountered species. Shortly after the stop to view the Buller’s Shearwater, a Northern Giant-Petrel came up the wake of the boat to give us a fly past, providing good views. This is an extraordinary sighting at this time of the year, with most sightings of this species in winter and spring. Several Fluttering / Hutton’s shearwaters were observed dashing past and not coming the boat. Numbers of juvenile Black-browed type Albatrosses increased to more than 10 birds. Attempting to separate juvenile Campbell Albatross from Black-browed and Grey-headed Albatrosses is a very difficult task!

    From the Trap reef we headed out over the abysmal plain towards the continental shelf break, here again birds were in good numbers. Small flocks (15-25 birds) of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters were observed heading south as were a couple of Sooty Shearwaters and a few Short-tailed Shearwaters. Wedge-tailed Shearwater numbers increased to about fifty birds (most appeared to be non-breeding birds). The first of three Tasmanian Shy albatrosses Thalassarche cauta also appears as did the first of several Pomarine jaegers and Grey-faced petrels.

    We continued out to 450 Fathoms stopping to burly and capture Grey-faced petrels. The large flock of birds that were attending our boat were soon joined by an adult Wandering Albatross. Black–browed type, all immature, increased in numbers and the first Campell albatross was identified. The sudden appearance of a White-chinned Petrel gave the punters an exercise in Procellaria petrel identification.

    A couple of Wilson’s and White-faced Storm-petrels fed greedily on the cod liver oil as it dispersed in our wake and the throng was soon joined by another Wanderer. Like the Northern Giant-Petrel, Wandering Albatrosses are most unusual in December.

    A few Oceanic bottle-nosed Dolphins observed on the run back to shore were the only cetaceans sighted for the day.

    The day was also a great success for the banding team with 34 Grey-faced Petrels, several Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, one Wandering Albatross and one juvenile Campbell Albatross being captured and banded for the day.

    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)
    063 Wilson’s Storm-petrel Oceanites oceanicus 3 (2)
    065 White-faced Storm-petrel Pelagodroma marina 3 (2)
    069 Wedge-tailed Shearwater Puffinus pacificus 100+ (100+)
    068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 10+ (6)
    913 Hutton’s Shearwater Puffinus huttoni 4 (2)
    975 Buller’s Shearwater Puffinus bulleri 1 (1)
    069 Short-tailed Shearwater Puffinus tenuirostris 20 (6)
    070 Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus 6 (3)
    072 Flesh-footed Shearwater Puffinus carneipes 1 (1)
    075 Grey-faced Petrel Pterodroma m.gouldi 75+ (70+)
    971 Solander’s Petrel Pterodroma solanderi 1 (1)
    915 White chinned Petrel Procellaria aequinoctialis 1 (1)
    086 Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans 2 (2)
    088 Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophris 10+ Adults and Juveniles
    859 Campbell Albatross Thalassarche impavida 3 (2)
    091 Shy Albatross Thalassarche cauta 5 (4)
    106 Australian Pelican Pelecannus conspicillatus 8 (6) in harbour
    115 Crested Tern Sterna bergi 30+ (20)
    125 Silver Gull Larus noveahollandia 100+
    981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 4 (3)
    945 Pomarine Jaeager Stercorarius pomarinus 3 (2)
    128 Arctic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus 4 (3)


    Oceanic Bottle-nosed Dolphin <10
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