SYDNEY PELAGIC TRIP REPORT APRIL 9, 2005
Fine, partly cloudy and quite warm (23 deg C)
Water temperature at the shelf 22 deg C
Departed Rose Bay at 07.00 and returned at 15.30
Swell 1 metre, sea 1 to 1.5 metres, winds 15-20 knots NNE
Reached about 28NM east of Sydney Heads
In some ways this was a pretty quiet trip with only 13 species recorded for the day but, in other ways, it was quite an extraordinary trip. The Indian Summer conditions in Sydney continued with yet another sunny, warm day and light to moderate north-north-easterlies and warm water temperatures.
The day commenced in a very strange way in that we did not sight a 'real' bird (ie other than Silver Gulls and Crested Terns) until we had travelled some 11 Nautical Miles east of Sydney Heads - an unprecedented occurrence in my experience. We began to see a few Wedge-tailed and Flesh-footed Shearwaters as we approached the shelf break and then, once at the deep water drop off, there were large numbers of shearwaters all around. At our first stopping point at Brown's Mountain, things were fairly quiet and the birds were apparently well fed and did not come in to the berley trail with any enthusiasm. The odd Wilson's Storm-Petrel and Great-winged Petrel provided the only relief from the shearwaters. Then, after 45 minutes or so, came our first good bird with brief but excellent views of a SOFT-PLUMAGED PETREL wheeling across the back of the boat. A few minutes later, the pale underwing primary flashes of a pterodroma suggested that we had our first Providence Petrel of the day but, as the bird came closer, its much paler plumage, paler head and white primary shafts revealed that it was an intermediate morph KERMADEC PETREL, a life bird for many people on board. Now comes the extraordinary part of this account. Five minutes later, we sighted another Kermadec Petrel and then a further two all at the same location. After moving a few miles to the north east, we sighted two more and, then, a further two birds were seen at our third berleying area two miles further north. In all eight sightings were made and, to allow for the fact that some may have been repeat passes by the same bird, we have conservatively recorded four individuals for the trip count. Considering the rarity of this species off the NSW coast, this is a remarkable number. (It is worth noting that 4 Kermadecs were reported off Newcastle recently and at least one off Wollongong, indicating some sort of irruption of this species locally).
For the second trip in a row, no cetaceans of any sort were sighted.
Great-winged Petrel 6 (2)
Providence Petrel 5 (1)
SOFT-PLUMAGED PETREL 1 (1)
KERMADEC PETREL 4 (1)
Wedge-tailed Shearwater 400+ (200)
Flesh-footed Shearwater 500+ (200)
Short-tailed Shearwater 2 (1)
Wilson's Storm-Petrel 5 (1)
Australasian Gannet 7 (1)
Pomarine Jaeger 5 (3)
Brown Skua 1 (1)
Silver Gull 120 (50)
Crested Tern 3 (2)
Next trip will be on Saturday May 14, 2005 leaving Cremorne Point at 06.45 and Rose Bay at 07.00.
Call Hal at 0411 311 236 to make your booking.