• 13th December 2003, Sydney, Pelagic Trip Report, Sydney, NSW, Australia


    A lovely Sydney summer's day greeted the 15 or so birders who departed Sydney Harbour at 07.00hrs on Saturday. The light winds and calm seas gave hopes of some good cetacean watching, and the ocean temperature bands which varied between 19degC and 23degC made the more optimistic of us think that we would get a good mix of lingering winter birds and early summer ones. Unfortunately, it was not to be and it was a fairly quiet day from a species diversity standpoint, although there were always plenty of birds around.

    There were some highlights. A tight rugby 'scrum' of ten Little Penguins (perhaps 'loose maul' would be more accurate) on the smooth waters of the harbour between Bradleys Head and Double Bay was the largest gathering that all observers on board could remember seeing in the harbour. Three dolphin species (Common, Oceanic Bottle-nosed, and Risso's) were enjoyed by all. Perhaps the most interesting sighting of the day was the discovery of a section of a giant squid being guarded proprietorially by our only albatross of the day (a juvenile Black-browed). The squid section was more than a metre long in both directions, weighed perhaps 15kg and was obviously only a small part of what had been the whole. Samples were taken for analysis at Taronga Zoo as this is believed to be the first physical evidence of giant squid off the Sydney coastline.


    Little Penguin 10 (10)
    Great-winged Petrel 170 (60)
    Wedge-tailed Shearwater 120 (30)
    Sooty Shearwater 1 (1)
    Short-tailed Shearwater 12 (6)
    Flesh-footed Shearwater 18 (6)
    Fluttering Shearwater 6 (2)
    Black-browed Albatross 1 (1)
    White-faced Storm-Petrel 11 (2)
    Australasian Gannet 3 (2)
    Pomarine Jaeger 14 (3)
    Long-tailed Jaeger 1 (1)
    Silver Gull 60 (20)
    Crested Tern 1 (1)
    Common Tern 18 (15)
    Sooty Tern 1 (1)

    All the best for the holiday season and for 2004

    Roger McGovern