Saturday 23rd March 2013 SOSSA PELAGIC TRIP, WOLLONGONG, NSW, AUSTRALIA.
Report prepared by: Lindsay E. Smith.and Graham Barwell
Departed: 0710 hrs ED
Return 1550 hrs ED
Sea conditions: Swell 1.5-2m from the east tending southerly in the afternoon
Weather: Fine with scattered cloud
Temperature range: Min 24.0 - 27 0 °C.
Barometric pressure: 1010Hp rising later in the day
Wind: NE 10-12 knots
Sea surface temperature: 22° in harbour 24.0° over the continental shelf break
Current from the South at 0.6 knots
Primary chumming location 135 Fathoms 34° 20 02s 151 021 001e 41.5kl NNE of the harbour.
We travelled out to 34° 20' 02" S; 151° 21' 01" E, 42 km ENE of Wollongong harbour in 257m (135 fathoms) shelf edge waters where we stopped, chummed and drifted 1.85 km NNE to 34° 19' 08" S; 151° 20' 35" E, 41.5 km ENE of the harbour in 210+m, 11.25-12.09 hrs, catching and banding an adult Campbell Albatross while we were there. We then turned back in, stopping briefly at 34° 21' 54" S; 151° 02' 57" E, 14.6 km ENE of the harbour in 130+m shelf waters to watch a White-necked Petrel before arriving back in at 15.50 hrs AEDST. We caught Flesh-footed and Wedge-tailed Shearwaters on the way out and the way back in. Water temperature inshore was 22° at the shelf edge 24°.
Conditions at sea were comfortable. Birds were generally very scarce inshore. Very few were observed until we had reached the Wollongong Reefs when small numbers of Wedge-tailed and Flesh-footed Shearwaters began to appear. We were past the ships at anchor when the first albatross of the day came in over our wake. It was an immature Black-browed Albatross.
We were soon joined by an adult Long-tailed Jaeger in fresh, almost complete breeding plumage, with long tail streamers being clearly visible. This bird was unusually accommodating and gave several fly bys on both sides of the boat. There by giving all on board great views and photo opportunities. It was interesting to note the total lack of Arctic Jaegers. All appear to have left for their breeding grounds in the Northern Hemisphere.
No Cetaceans or Seals were observed during the voyage.
The banding team were successful in capturing 30+ Wedge-tailed Shearwaters including 5 recaptures up to 11+ years old, 8 Flesh-foot Shearwaters and a single near adult Campbell Albatross.
Highlight: On the return leg back to the harbour a White-necked Petrel was observed flying over our wake. With the recent sighting supported with photographs of an unusual “White-necked type” off Sydney, (considered to be Barau’s Petrel awaiting confirmation from rarities committee) we stopped the boat briefly to observe this very handsome petrel and confirm its identity. All on board were rewarded with excellent views. Many on-board expressed delight in seeing the birds so well. For me it beats “glimpses” of a bird disappearing behind the swell any day!
Thank you to all who supported the trip and helped out.
Your assistance and support is gratefully appreciated. This adds greatly to our knowledge of our sea birds
075 Great-winged Petrel, Pterodroma macroptera 5+
774 White-necked Petrel, Pterodroma cervicalis 1
971 Solander’s Petrel Pterodroma solanderi 3 (Fresh plumage)
069 Wedge-tailed Shearwater, Puffinus pacificus 100+
072 Flesh-footed Shearwater, Puffinus carneipes 30
071 Short-tailed Shearwater, Puffinus tenuirostris 2
068 Fluttering Shearwater, Puffinus gavia 1+
913 Hutton’s Shearwater, Puffinus huttoni 8+
088 Black-browed Albatross, Thalassarche melanophrys 2
859 Campbell Albatross, Thalassarche impavida 1
091 Shy Albatross, Thalassarche cauta 3
063 Wilson’s Storm-Petrel, Oceanites oceanicus 4
104 Australasian Gannet, Morus serrator 1
100 Little Pied Cormorant, Phalacrocorax melanoleucos 3
099 Pied Cormorant, Phalacrocorax varius 1
097 Little black Cormorant, Phalacrocorax sulcirostris 3
096 Great Cormorant, Phalacrocorax carbo 2
106 Australian Pelican, Pelicanus conspicillatus 4
945 Pomarine Jaeger, Stercorarius pomarinus 3+
933 Long-tailed Jaeger, Stercorarius longicauda 2
981 Kelp Gull, Larus dominicanus 2
125 Silver Gull, Larus novaehollandiae 4
115 Crested Tern, Sterna bergii 5
991 Common Blackbird Turdus merula 1 3 klm out from harbour heading to shore.