• Saturday 11th July 2009, Sydney, Pelagic Trip Report, Sydney, NSW, Australia



    The Humpback Whale migration is now clearly in full swing with a wonderful performance on display much to the delight of all on board. No less than 10 individuals were seen with several performing wonderful breaches and flipper splashes. A good selection of the usual birds to be expected at this time of year were seen but nothing out of the ordinary.

    Weather conditions were calm, somewhat overcast with a slight swell and surprisingly warm for this time of year which made for a pleasant day at sea. Maximum are temperature reaching about 18 deg C. Sea temperature inshore was 17.0 deg C and 19.0 deg C at Brown's Sea Mount on the shelf. We departed Rose Bay at 7.30am and returned at 5.00pm with a slight 1.0 metre swell and at times almost glassy conditions prompting fewer birds than we had hoped, but a great day indeed.

    Trip Summary
    The boat was at capacity with a good selection of local, interstate and overseas birders. Once outside the heads we headed north along the coast watching the Hump-backed Whales, Albatross and Giant Petrels. We detoured back to the coastal cliffs at Dee Why to observe a Peregrine Falcon which sat comfortably on the cliff face for all to see. Apparently a pair have commenced breeding at this locality for a few years now. We then set course for Brown's Mountain (a sea mount) located 22.5NM SSE of Sydney Heads on the continental shelf break, once there we set about chumming but attracted very few birds. The calm conditions had attracted many recreational fishing boats in fact over 50, but none appeared to have any birds around them. Although the usual selection of Albatross species were seen, it was the whales that made this day a special one. How often does one see whales breaching in tandem? Once back in the harbour we deterred towards Manly and soon located a number of Little Penguin (a life bird for many) rafting at dusk before heading ashore.

    Bird List
    (Note that numbers in parenthesises represent the maximum numbers seen at
    any one time)

    Outside the heads

    Southern Giant Petrel 2 (1)
    Giant Petrel Sp 2
    Cape Petrel 2
    Providence Petrel 2 (1)
    Fairy Prion 15 (6)
    Sooty Shearwater 1
    Fluttering Shearwater 15-20 (5)
    Wandering Albatross 4 (1) all with gibsoni plumage characteristics
    Black-browed Albatross 28 (4) a good mix of Juv and adult
    Yellow-nosed Albatross 7 (2)
    Shy Albatross 3 (1)
    White-faced Storm Petrel 1 seen by at least one observer
    Australasian Gannet 8 (2)

    In the harbour

    Silver Gull 40
    Crested Tern 2 (1)
    Sooty Oystercatcher 1
    Little Penguin 14 (12)
    Australian Pelican 6
    Little Black Cormorant a few in the harbour
    Pied Cormorant a few in the harbour
    Darter 1

    Other Sightings

    Short-beaked Common Dolphin 20+
    Humpback Whale 10+ (2)
    Peregrine Falcon 1

    The next Sydney pelagic trip will be on Saturday 8th August, 2009 departing Mosman Ferry Wharf at 0645 and Rose Bay Public Wharf at 0700.

    Call Hal on 0411 311 236 to make a reservation.

    Tony Palliser