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Thread: Eaglehawk Neck Pelagics Saturday, 31/08, and Sunday, 01/09/2013

  1. #1

    Eaglehawk Neck Pelagics Saturday, 31/08, and Sunday, 01/09/2013

    Participants: Nikolas Haass (organiser), Raja Stephenson, Daniel Mantle, Plaxy Barratt, Kevin Bartram, Martin Cachard, Robert Hamilton, Judith Hoyle, Gavin O'Meara, Andrew Sutherland, John Weigel, Ed Williams, Richard White (Saturday only), Bernard O’Keefe (Sunday only), John Males (skipper) and Michael Males (deck hand)

    Vessel: Pauletta

    Saturday: air temperature 10.1-18.4˚C, sea surface temperature 13.8˚C at the shelf break, swell 1 m, wind 7-10 knots NNE

    Sunday: air temperature 10.6-21.2˚C, sea surface temperature 13.8˚C at the shelf break, swell 1.5 m, wind 25-30 knots N, wind gusting to 45 knots

    Both days, we left the harbour at 7:10 am and headed straight towards the shelf break.

    Saturday was a sunny day with very calm seas. On the way out, the first tubenose was a Shy Albatross followed by Common Diving-Petrels and an adult White-fronted Tern. We stopped for a large flock of approximately 2000 Fairy Prions at the 60-fathom line. While scanning the flock for rarer prion species and allies, we already had the highlight for day 1: A very chunky whale-bird flew past the boat. Photographs (Raja Stephenson & Kevin Bartram) showed a large-billed and square-headed prion with – for a whale-bird – relatively much black in the tail. A large area of its upper mandible was jet-black, while the sides of the bill showed bluish coloration. We tentatively identified this bird as a Broad-billed Prion (at the lower end of its bill size range). Salvin’s or a MacGillivray’s Prion obviously need to be excluded for BARC acceptance of this record, although the bill would seem extreme for the former and excluding the latter is likely impossible. As Broad-billed Prion breeds many thousands of kilometres closer it is the much more likely candidate.
    We then proceeded to the 400-fathom line. Soon, good numbers of albatross showed up, including an adult Salvin’s Albatross, an adult Buller’s Albatross, a nice mix of Southern and Northern Royal Albatross and several Wandering-type Albatross (1 old male exulans, 3 browner ones of the same size and therefore likely exulans too; 3 unidentified Wandering-type albatross, 1 with a Darvic band ['727' white on black] on the right leg and an aluminium band on the left leg). A White-headed Petrel put up a brief show and a New Zealand Fur-seal visited the boat to scare some of the albatross. On the way back we passed another New Zealand Fur-seal and were followed by a small pod of Short-beaked Common Dolphins.

    On Sunday the seas were much rougher and the sky was overcast. We started off with fewer Common Diving-Petrels and much fewer Fairy Prions compared to the previous day. We encountered a flock of four Red-necked Stints heading north while a Brown Skua headed south. Both on the way out and on the shelf break, we had more Black-browed Albatross, joined by a subadult Campbell Albatross and again an adult Salvin’s Albatross but still very low numbers of Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross. An interesting very white-headed Shy-type albatross in heavy wing moult and with a bone-coloured base to the culminicorn joined the crowd of classic cauta. It was perhaps a White-capped Albatross. A small young Wandering-type Albatross with a solid brown (not black) cap was definitely a New Zealand Albatross (likely a male Antipodean Albatross). Day two was certainly the Pterodroma day with three White-headed Petrels, a Soft-plumaged Petrel, large numbers of Grey-faced Petrels, a few likely nominate Great-winged Petrels and several Providence Petrels. We also added a Southern Giant-Petrel and a second adult White-fronted Tern to the trip list. The highlight of day 2 was, however, a slightly worn adult Sooty Albatross that suddenly showed up, made one close and one more distant pass before departing to the south. Another highlight at the shelf break was a beautiful Blue Shark that checked out the chum. On the way back we were followed by Short-beaked Common Dolphins again and finished the trip with a ride along the spectacular landscape north of Eaglehawk Neck.

    Photographs (Raja Stephenson):

    Species lists (scientific name, common name, total number (seen at one time) day1, day2)

    Eudyptula minor, Little Penguin, 0 (0), 1 (1)
    Diomedea exulans, Wandering Albatross, 4 (2), 5 (3)
    Diomedea antipodensis, New Zealand Albatross, 0 (0), 2 (2) [likely a male Antipodean Albatross D. a. antipodensis]
    Diomedea [exulans] spec., unidentified Wandering-type Albatross 3 (1), 2 (2)
    Diomedea epomophora, Southern Royal Albatross, 6 (3), 8 (3)
    Diomedea sanfordi, Northern Royal Albatross, 4 (2), 2 (2)
    Phoebetria fusca, Sooty Albatross, 0 (0), 1 (1)
    Thalassarche melanophris, Black-browed Albatross, 5 (3), 15 (6)
    Thalassarche impavida, Campbell Albatross, 0 (0), 1 (1)
    Thalassarche c. cauta, Shy Albatross, 120 (20), 150 (30)
    Thalassarche c. steadi, White-capped Albatross, 0 (0), 1 (1); [possibly this taxon]
    Thalassarche salvini, Salvin's Albatross, 1 (1), 1 (1)
    Thalassarche carteri, Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross, 5 (1), 5 (1)
    Thalassarche bulleri, Buller's Albatross, 1 (1), 0 (0)
    Macronectes giganteus, Southern Giant-Petrel, 0 (0), 1 (1)
    Macronectes halli, Northern Giant-Petrel, 3 (1), 8 (4)
    Daption capense, Cape Petrel, 6 (2), 7 (3) [all D. c. australe]
    Pachyptila vittata, Broad-billed Prion 1 (1), 0 (0); [likely this species, pending BARC decision]
    Pachyptila turtur, Fairy Prion, 3000 (2000), 50 (10)
    Pterodroma m. macroptera, Great-winged Petrel, 2 (1), 2 (1); [likely this taxon]
    Pterodroma m. gouldi, Grey-faced Petrel, 10 (2), 70 (30)
    Pterodroma lessonii, White-headed Petrel, 1 (1), 3 (2)
    Pterodroma solandri, Providence Petrel, 2 (1), 5 (1)
    Pterodroma mollis, Soft-plumaged Petrel, 0 (0), 1 (1)
    Puffinus griseus, Sooty Shearwater, 6 (2), 1 (1)
    Garrodia nereis, Grey-backed Storm-Petrel, 7 (3), 3 (2)
    Pelecanoides urinatrix, Common Diving-Petrel, 30 (4), 20 (2)
    Morus serrator, Australasian Gannet, 7 (2), 6 (2)
    Phalacrocorax fuscescens, Black-faced Cormorant, 10 (10), 10 (10)
    Calidris ruficollis, Red-necked Stint, 0 (0), 4 (4)
    Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae, Silver Gull, 3 (3), 30 (30)
    Larus pacificus, Pacific Gull, 2 (2), 10 (10)
    Larus dominicanus, Kelp Gull, 40 (40), 40 (40)
    Thalasseus bergii, Crested Tern, 15 (2), 10 (2)
    Sterna striata, White-fronted Tern, 1 (1), 1 (1)
    Stercorarius antarcticus, Brown Skua, 0 (0), 1 (1)

    Arctocephalus forsteri, New Zealand Fur-seal, 2 (1), 0 (0)
    Delphinus delphis, Short-beaked Common Dolphin, 6 (6), 4 (4)

    Prionace glauca, Blue Shark, 0, 1 (1)
    Last edited by nhaass; 09-10-2013 at 11:45 PM. Reason: fixed links to the photos

  2. #2
    After examination of photographs and discussion with Lindsay Smith, SOSSA, we came to the conclusion that one of the New Zealand Albatross on day 2 was likely a male Antipodean Albatross D. a. antipodensis.


  3. #3

  4. #4
    Hi all,

    The Broad-billed Prion has now been accepted by BARC. Detailed submission and acceptance letter have been uploaded here:




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