Species list for Sunday 3rd June 2012 SOSSA PELAGIC TRIP, WOLLONGONG, NSW, AUSTRALIA.
    Prepared by Graham Barwell and Nikolas Haass

    This pelagic was run after the usual May pelagic had to be cancelled on account of gale force winds.

    Water temperatures off Wollongong continue to cool as winter draws in. Inshore temperature was 19.3° with temperature out at the shelf 21°, as measured by the instruments on the Sandra K. Temperatures are still not cold enough to trigger squid breeding, but the winter albatross feast can’t be too far away. Seas were comfortable with about a 1 metre swell.

    Rain which arrived on the Saturday afternoon eased overnight so that we had dry conditions for the morning, but struck a heavy shower on the way back into harbour.

    Cool water species are now becoming more evident. Good numbers of the usual smaller albatrosses were present, particularly Black-browed types, with about a 2:1 ratio of adult Black-browed to adult Campbell, and about a 1:1 ratio of adults (both species) to immatures (which I can’t separate). There were more Black-browed types present than Indian Yellow-nosed Albatrosses, the reverse of the situation on 28 April, when the latter was predominant. Indian Yellow-nosed seem to arrive earlier off Wollongong than Black-browed. On the way out we caught an adult Black-browed Albatross which SOSSA had banded some years ago and an immature Black-browed wearing a French band, so coming from either the Crozet or Kerguelen Islands colonies in the Indian Ocean.

    There were very good numbers of Buller’s Albatrosses around the boat out at the shelf edge and on the way back in. The banding team managed to catch and band 5 of the 10 present at the shelf edge, and at a stop on the way back in there were 6 unbanded birds present, thus making minimum of 11 birds for the day. This represents the largest number of Buller’s Albatrosses we’ve had off Wollongong. They are likely to be from the colonies on the Snares and Solander Islands, south of New Zealand. One of the caught birds had a number of ticks around its eyes indicating it had been ashore within the last couple of weeks.

    After leaving the harbour we proceeded out to our main chumming spot for the day, beginning at 34° 38’ 27” S; 151° 09’ 46” E, 33.9 km southeast of the harbour in 200+ m shelf edge waters, and drifting 890m southwest to 34° 38’ 40” S; 150° 09’ 14” E, 11:08-12:20 hrs. We then turned back in, stopping briefly at a couple of spots en route and managing to catch and band one more Buller’s Albatross. One of the Northern Giant-Petrels had a yellow darvic band on its right leg, readily visible in flight, but we weren’t able to catch it.

    Wilson's Storm-petrel - 1
    Wandering Albatross (I thought gibsoni, Lindsay thought exulans - possibly a female exulans?) - 1
    Black-browed Albatross - many
    (we caught two banded ones - one had a 1995 band from Wollongong, the other one had a French band)
    Campbell Albatross - many
    Shy Albatross - many (3 possible White-capped)
    Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross - many
    Salvin's/Bullers? -1 juvenile (not seen by many)
    Buller's Albatross - (20) 30 (we caught and banded 6!)
    Southern Giant-Petrel - 1
    Northern Giant-Petrels - 6
    Cape Petrels - 3+
    Fairy Prions - 2
    Sooty Shearwaters - 5+
    Short-tailed Shearwaters - 2+
    Fluttering Shearwaters - many
    Hutton's Shearwater - 1
    Providence Petrels - 10+
    Little Penguins - 2
    Australasian Gannets - many
    Brown Skuas - 5+
    White-fronted Terns - 3
    Crested Terns - many
    Silver Gulls - many
    Kelp Gulls - 3

    Humpbacks - 6
    Short-beaked Common Dolphins - 10+