Here's what was seen outside the harbour on the pelagic from Kiama on the MV Kato on Sunday 23 April 2017. The list uses the IOC Checklist v7.2 (2017) for taxonomy, nomenclature & order of species. Today’s list gives fairly conservative numbers, which are estimates for the commoner species. There's also a .jpg file from Google Earth showing our route.

    Leaving Kiama Harbour at 07.30 hrs AEST we headed east out to the shelf edge at 34° 38’ 45” S; 151° 12’ 19” E, 31.7 km from the harbour in 280m+ waters, where we made the first of three stops of 15-50 mins along the shelf edge, looking for significant upwellings and associated birds. At each stopping point, we chummed and drifted SSW in the current, catching and banding Wedge-tailed and Flesh-footed Shearwaters. Our third stop and drift took us south to 34° 41’ 08” S; 151° 11’ 32” E, 30.5 km E of the harbour, at 11.45 hrs, at which point we turned back towards the shore, hoping to pick up a wider variety of species along the current lines further in. We made three further stops at points 25.2 km, 17 km and 3.31 km respectively E of the harbour, drifting and chumming 15-45 mins at each spot, without seeing further species. We arrived back in the harbour at 15.48 hrs.

    Sea temperatures were around 24° offshore with very benign conditions; light winds and a <0.5m swell. Species diversity was significantly down on previous trips off Kiama this year, with a surprising complete absence of albatross species.

    Species seen outside the harbour, maximum at any one time in brackets:

    063 Wilson’s Storm Petrel - 4+ (4)
    971 Providence [Solander’s] Petrel - 5 (3)
    069 Wedge-tailed Shearwater - 20+ (10) a number of freshly-plumaged, recently-fledged young birds present as well as one adult banded off Wollongong some years ago
    071 Short-tailed Shearwater - 8+ (2) one with a broken lower mandible hanging down
    072 Flesh-footed Shearwater - 50+ (30)
    913 Hutton’s Shearwater - 2 (1)
    Fluttering/Hutton’s Shearwater - 1+
    White-faced Heron - 8 (7) one flying N 27 km offshore; flock of 7 flying S 16.2 km offshore
    104 Australasian Gannet - 3 (1) one adult & two immatures
    125 Silver Gull - 60 (60) biggest flock seen off Kiama to date; bigger flocks normal off Wollongong during the cooler months
    115 Greater Crested Tern - 4 (4)

    No cetaceans seen, but a number of Common Dolphinfish/Mahi Mahi were attracted by the chum out on the shelf edge.

    Graham Barwell