• Saturday 25th November 2017 SOSSA PELAGIC TRIP, KIAMA, NSW, AUSTRALIA.

    Here's what was seen outside the harbour on the pelagic from Kiama on the MV Kato on Saturday 25 November 2017. The list uses the IOC Checklist v7.2 (2017) for taxonomy, nomenclature & order of species. It gives fairly conservative numbers, which are estimates for the commoner species. There's also a map from Google Earth showing our route.

    Black Petrel being banded

    Leaving Kiama Harbour at 07.30 hrs AEDST, we travelled E out to the shelf edge, where we stopped at the first of our three chumming sites for the day at 09.30. This was at 34° 42’ 01” S; 151° 09’ 38” E, 28 kms from the harbour in 210m+ waters, where we drifted 5.5 km south in the strong (3 knot) northerly current over the next hour. We then travelled back up the slick and stopped at 34° 44’ 49” S; 151° 03’ 57” E, 27 kms east of the harbour in 200m+ waters, chumming and drifting 9.5 km south in the course of the next hour and a half. At this point we thought moving a little further towards land might bring us into the path of birds migrating south, so we moved westwards to 34° 48’ 14” S; 151° 03’ 57” E, 24 kms south-east of the harbour in 130m+ shelf waters. From 12.20 hrs we drifted from here and chummed, seeing a more diverse array of seabirds including a Cook’s and two Black Petrels, with the banding team managing to catch one of the latter as well as a number of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters for banding. Having drifted 9.8 kms south in the strong current, we finally turned back to port at 13.50 hrs, stopping briefly about 6.5 kms out to see if there was anything interesting inshore. There wasn’t, so we continued in, arriving back in port at 15.50 hrs.

    Blue Shark

    Conditions were comfortable all day in a swell of 0.5 m rising to 1.0 m. Sea temperatures were 18° inshore and 21.5° at the shelf edge, much the same as last month.

    Highlights were the Cook’s and Black Petrels.

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

    063 Wilson’s Storm Petrel - 4 (2)
    847 Antipodean Albatross - 1 (1) subsp. gibsoni (Gibson’s Albatross)
    091 Shy Albatross - 1 (1)
    075 Grey-faced Petrel - 3+ (1)
    971 Providence Petrel - 1 (1) this strikingly grey and black bird appeared to have the usual wing flashes of Providence but its colouration suggested the possibility of Murphy’s Petrel. It may have been a recently fledged juvenile
    918 Cook’s Petrel - 1 (1)
    917 Black Petrel - 2 (2) one caught & banded
    069 Wedge-tailed Shearwater - 300+ (200)
    070 Sooty Shearwater - 2+ (1)
    071 Short-tailed Shearwater - 80+ (25)
    072 Flesh-footed Shearwater - 1+ (1)
    913 Hutton’s Shearwater - 1 (1)
    Fluttering/Hutton’s Shearwater - 1 (1)
    125 Silver Gull - 15+ (10) mainly just outside the harbour
    115 Greater Crested Tern - 6 (5)
    945 Pomarine Skua - 2+ (1)
    128 Parasitic Jaeger - 1 (1)
    Jaeger sp. - 2 (1)

    At the shelf edge we were entertained by a Blue Shark taking some of our chum and attempting unsuccessfully to take seabirds resting on the water surface. Inshore we were visited by two unidentified seals. We saw no cetaceans all day.

    Graham Barwell