Date / Month: 25th March 2017
Location: Kiama (MV Kato)
Air temp: 23 degrees Water temp: Offshore 25 degrees
Air pressure: 1016 Hp Cloud cover: Overcast most of the day
Wind speed and direction: NNE 7-10 Knots increasing to 15 Knots in the afternoon.
Sea conditions: Swell 1-2m NE. Strong current from the North at 2.6-3 0 Knots.
Another exciting and productive day at sea off Kiama. The Weather Gods were kind to us by providing good conditions for boating, however conditions were overcast and dull with showers. This made the identification of the birds quite challenging throughout the day. The birds were plentiful within a few miles from the harbour. Wedge-tailed Shearwaters were numerous and the banding team managed to catch and band 20 of these and re-capture three previously banded birds. In addition to these, a further nine Grey-faced Petrels and a Wandering Albatross were also banded by the team.
South Polar Skua
After leaving the harbour we headed north east out to our Primary Chumming location at Lat 34 44 730 S Long 151 12 610E in 300 Fathoms. As we approached the Continental Shelf in 100 Fathoms an immature South Polar Skua was observed harassing the Wedge-tailed and Flesh-footed Shearwaters in a manner similar to an Arctic Jaeger over our distant wake. The boat was stopped and the Skua approached the boat and remained with us for some time allowing excellent views and photo opportunities. The South Polar Skua is regarded as rare in Eastern Australia.
After a short stop to capture a few Wedge-tailed Shearwaters in the region of the Continental Shelf we continued out to 300 fathoms. Here we drifted South in the current at 2.6 Knots before running back up the slick. Grey-faced Petrels and Flesh-footed Shearwaters were the dominant species here with a few immature Solanderís Petrels and Wilsonís Storm-petrels being observed before heading back into 110 Fathoms for a brief stop. With an approaching rain squall coming we headed back into 70-75 Fathoms. Here with the sighting of a pale phase Kermadec Petrel over our wake. We stopped the boat again in order to observe the Kermadec Petrel. Whilst we were stopped a Gouldís Petrel or possibly two, an immature Huttonís shearwater and an adult Wandering Albatross joined the flock of birds around the boat. To the delight of all on board the Wandering Albatross was soon captured and banded by the banding team before heading back to harbour.
Highlights South Polar Skua, Gouldís Petrel, Kermadec Petrel
Sp No Species Number
075 Grey-faced Petrel, Pterodroma gouldi 40+ (26)
971 Providence Petrel, Pterodroma solandri 4 (2)
922 Kermadec Petrel, Pterodroma neglecta 1 Pale phase
078 Gouldís Petrel, Pterodroma leucoptera 3 (2)
069 Wedge-tailed Shearwater, Puffinus pacificus 100+ (50+)
072 Flesh-footed Shearwater, Puffinus carneipes 50+ (20+)
071 Short-tailed Shearwater, Puffinus tenuirostris 4 (1)
913 Huttonís Shearwater, Puffinus huttoni 3 (1)
086 Wandering Albatross, Diomedea exulans 2 (1)
861 White-capped Albatross, Thalassarche steadi 5 (3)
063 Wilsonís Storm-Petrel, Oceanites oceanicus 10+ (3)
104 Australasian Gannet, Morus serrator 6 (2)
100 Little Pied Cormorant, Phalacrocorax melanoleucos 2
097 Little black Cormorant, Phalacrocorax sulcirostris 3
096 Great Cormorant, Phalacrocorax carbo 4
106 Australian Pelican, Pelicanus conspicillatus 3
979 South Polar Skua, Catharacta maccormicki 1
945 Pomarine Jaeger, Stercorarius pomarinus 3 (2)
125 Silver Gull, Larus novaehollandiae 20 +
115 Crested Tern, Sterna bergii 6 (2)