• Saturday 28th October 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 28 October 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.

    Leaving Kiama Harbour at 07.30 hours AEDST, we travelled ESE out to the shelf edge, stopping for half an hour at 34° 44’ 06” S; 151° 03’ 05” E, 19 kms from the harbour, to see if we could catch a lone Wandering Albatross which had come in to investigate us. We had no success. We then continued out to the shelf edge where we stopped at the first of our chumming sites at 34° 44’ 48” S; 151° 09’ 35” E, 29 kms from the harbour in 210m+ waters at 10.10 hrs. Over the next few hours we chummed and drifted south in the 2 knot current, attracting large numbers of petrels and smaller numbers of albatrosses. We were excited to record here a couple of uncommon petrels off Kiama: Cook’s Petrel and Black Petrel. We did catch some species too. Over the course of the day, the banding team banded Grey-faced Petrels, Providence Petrels and one immature Black-browed/Campbell Albatross, giving those on board a chance to see these species in the hand.

    After a couple of hours drifting, we continued further south along the shelf edge to 34° 47’ 59” S; 151° 09’ 05” E, 30 km from the harbour in 230m+ waters, where we again drifted and chummed, hoping to lure in close one of the three Antipodean (Gibson’s) Albatrosses behind the boat, but again were unsuccessful. No more unusual petrels turned up and time was running out, so we turned back in at 13.32, stopping for half an hour at 34° 43’ 11” S; 150° 56’ 06” E, in 70m+ shelf waters, 8.7 km SE of the harbour, to see what was around, but only the common inshore birds were seen. We continued in and arrived back at our mooring at 14.10 hrs.

    Conditions were comfortable all day in a swell of 1-1.5 m. Sea temperatures were 18° inshore and 21° at the shelf edge.

    Highlights were the numbers and range of petrels, plus the dolphins.

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

    063 Wilson’s Storm Petrel - 6 (2)
    086 Wandering Albatross - 1 (1)
    847 Antipodean Albatross - 3 (3) all considered subsp. gibsoni (Gibson’s Albatross)
    088 Black-browed Albatross - 1 (1) adult
    Black-browed/Campbell Albatross - 4+ (3) immatures; one caught & banded
    091 Shy Albatross - 5+ (1) at least 1 bird a Tasmanian-breeding cauta with a clearly yellowish culmen
    075 Grey-faced Petrel - 80+ (40+) some caught & banded
    971 Providence Petrel - 80+ (40+) some caught & banded
    918 Cook’s Petrel - 1 (1)
    917 Black Petrel - 2 (2)
    069 Wedge-tailed Shearwater - 200 (30)
    071 Short-tailed Shearwater - 30+ (5)
    Fluttering/Hutton’s Shearwater - 1 (1)
    104 Australasian Gannet - 30+ (10)
    125 Silver Gull - 20+ (11) mainly just outside the harbour
    115 Greater Crested Tern - 2 (1)
    945 Pomarine Skua - 3 (1)
    128 Parasitic Jaeger - 1 (1)

    At the shelf edge, we encountered several pods of large Oceanic Bottlenose Dolphins, which gave good views as they swam around and under the boat. There was also a pod of Common Dolphins.

    Graham Barwell