• Saturday June 23rd 2012 SOSSA PELAGIC TRIP, WOLLONGONG, NSW, AUSTRALIA.

    Report prepared by: Lindsay E. Smith.

    Departed: 0710 hrs
    Returned: 1635 hrs

    Sea conditions: Up to 3 mtrs on a 1.0-1.5m swell from the east tending southerly in the afternoon

    Weather: Fine with scattered cloud

    Temperature range: 8.0 - 15 0 įC.

    Barometric pressure: 1010Hp rising later in the day

    Wind: West-SW tending to Southerly in the afternoon

    Sea surface temperature: 17.7 in harbour 21.8į over the continetial shelf break

    Current: from the North at 1.5 knots

    Primary chumming location 120 Fathoms

    Summary:

    A cold front had moved through the region on Friday and had persisted over night before abating just before dawn. We were hoping that it may have brought some sub-Antarctic species with it. Conditions at sea were a little uncomfortable once we cleared to shelter of the Five Island. The birds were generally well spead inshore and consisted mainly of the expected winter birds. Silver Gulls were in noticeably lower numbers than on our last trip.

    Within 25 mins of leaving the harbour the cry of ďBullerís albatrossĒ! This is as close to shore that we have encountered this species and continues the recent spate of sightings of this previously rare species in our region.

    A small pod of distant Hump-backed Whales were observed near the Five Islands but too far off to pursue.

    Albatrossess were in good numbers. Shy, Black-browed and Campbell Island Albatrosses. Indian Yellow-nosed albatrosses were in unusually good numbers.

    These included birds of several different ages (mainly Black-browed and Campbell Island Albatrosses). Bullerís and Wanderering Albatrosses gave us six species of albatrosses for the day. Southern and Northern Giant petrels were also observed. Southern Giant Petrels have been in very low numbers in recent years, being out numbered by the usually less frequent Northern Giant Petrel

    As we headed out to the shelf break, the sea conditions made for a steady journey and a ready supply of birds. Australasian Gannets were also in good numbers and were foraging actively in 85 Fathoms. Only 1 or two immature birds were observed, all others appeared to be adult or sub - adults. Fairy Prions, Cape Petrels and a few Solanderís Petrels came into our slick during our drift over the shelf. Up to six of the Cape Petrels followed in our wake almost back to the harbour.

    The sea conditions made it difficult for the banding team to operate however we were successful in capturing and banding One Southern Giant petrel, Two Northern Giant petrels, a Bullerís albatross, a Gibsonís albatross and a Brown Skua.

    Several birds including two Brown Skuas and a Black-browed albatross which had previously been banded by foreign banding schemes were observed. However we were unable to recapture any of them.

    On our return trip to the harbour we were joined by a large pod of Pan-tropical spotted Dolphins. This is the first of this species seen in our region for several years and this was a highlight for many on board.

    Once again a very interesting, though at times a little uncomfortable day on the ocean.

    Thank you to all who supported the trip and helped out.

    Cheers Lindsay

    Gibson's Albatross - 4
    Black-browedAlbatross - many
    Campbell Albatross - 4
    Shy Albatross - many
    Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross - many
    Buller's Albatross - 3
    Southern Giant Petrel - 1
    Northern Giant Petrel - 6
    Fairy Prion - 10+
    Sooty Shearwater - 1
    Short-tailed Shearwater - 1
    Fluttering Shearwater - 50
    Solanderís Petrel - 15
    Australasian Gannets - many
    White-fronted Terns - 4
    Crested Terns - 30+
    Kelp Gull - 1 (adult)
    Silver Gulls - 100+
    Brown Skuas - 6+

    Mammals:
    Hump-backed whale - 6+
    Pan-tropical spotted Dolphin - about 50

    http://www.sossa-international.org

    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.