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Thread: Eden Pelagics 22/23 October 2011 - Mottled & Cooks Petrels

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011

    Eden Pelagics 22/23 October 2011 - Mottled & Cooks Petrels

    Hi All,

    Just posting the message I sent to Birding-Aus.

    Another enjoyable day at sea. No doubt Tobias or others will post some photos shortly and we can have a bit of discussion about Cook's Petrel identification.

    I will quickly include one of the White-chinned Petrel shots.

    Cheers Dan
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    Canberra Ornithologists Group pelagic trips off Eden, NSW (October 22nd & 23rd)

    Fifteen COG members people made the short trek down from Canberra to Eden on the southern NSW coast for a weekend of pelagic birding aboard the Connemara with skipper Richard Buckingham. We departed both mornings at 6am with the aim of getting out to the shelf edge as early as possible.

    Observers (Saturday): Dan Mantle, Anthony Overs, Barbara Allen, Dianne Frazier, Lindsay Hansch, Sandra Henderson, Tobias Hayashi, Sue Lashko, Julian Robinson and Alastair Smith.
    Observers (Sunday): Dan Mantle, Anthony Overs, Sandra Henderson, Tobias Hayashi, Julienne Kamprad, Sybilla Kovacs, Cassandra Morrow, Margaret Leggoe, Alastair Smith, and Alan Thomas.

    The weekend was notable for a moderate number of Cookilaria petrel sightings. These birds along with the vast majority of shearwaters were moving south and gave reasonable views in the light winds, thus allowing all on board to see Mottled (3 on Sat/5 on Sun) and Cook’s Petrels (1 on Sat/1 on Sun) both days. Or I should say probable Cook’s Petrels – everything I saw seemed to fit with Cook’s rather than Pycroft’s Petrel on both days but obviously these are notoriously difficult birds to be 100% sure on the identification. Tobias Hayashi got good photos of these birds but so far I have only seen these images on his camera. We will get to look at these images in the next few days. Certainly both birds had well developed but restricted ear covert patches that were clearly distinct from paler grey nape and crown and the Saturday bird had a long, thin, clearly defined supercilium (not easy to be sure on the Sunday bird). Both birds looked relatively long billed (the Sunday bird was also relatively thick-billed). In flight, I thought both birds were long winged but I am not willing to comment on tail length. I have found that I struggle to easily pick any differences in tail length on photos of known birds without actually measuring them.

    We also had good views of a single White-chinned Petrel at the berley point each day and reasonable numbers of Great-winged (largely or all Grey-faced) and Providence Petrels. The Humpbacks also put on a great show, particularly on Sunday with prolonged flipper and tail slapping and lots of breaching (including one large whale unexpectedly breaching within 50m of the boat – spectacular!).

    COG Eden pelagics – Saturday & Sunday October 22rd & 23rd 2011

    Weather (Saturday): Overcast with light 5 knot northerlies for most of the day with virtually no swell and only very low waves. Sea surface temperatures were 15C close to shore rising to 18.5C at the shelf edge.
    Weather (Sunday): Light 5-10 knot north-easterlies, starting overcast but soon clearing to a bright day with only a slight swell (1m) and low waves (0.5-1m). Similar water temperatures to Saturday.

    Saturday berley point – 37 03S 150 23E (280-310 fathoms)
    Sunday berley point – 36 58S 150 20E (190-210 fathoms)

    List of birds (Saturday total/Sunday total):
    Black-browed Albatross 8/10 (all close birds were melanophris)
    Yellow-nosed Albatross2/0
    Shy Albatross 180+/20+ (all cauta or cauta/steadi)
    Wandering Albatross4/2 (one gibsoni, rest not split but possibly all gibsoni)
    Fluttering Shearwater20/100+
    Hutton’s Shearwater40/0
    Fluttering/Hutton’s Shearwater1000+/200+
    Short-tailed Shearwater500+/500+
    Sooty Shearwater1/0
    Wedge-tailed Shearwater300+/200+
    White-faced Storm-petrel1/0
    Wilson’s Storm-Petrel20+/20+
    Great-winged Petrel2/30+ (most or all gouldi)
    Providence Petrel6/10+
    Cape Petrel10+/1
    Mottled Petrel3/5
    Cook’s Petrel1/1
    Unidentified Cookilaria0/2 (probably both distant Mottled Petrels)
    White-chinned Petrel1/1
    Northern Giant Petrel1/1
    Giant Petrel sp.0/1
    Arctic Jaeger1/2 (all nearshore)
    Australian Gannet
    Black-faced Cormorant2/1
    Little Black Cormorant2/10 (10 birds flew past in formation at 190 fathom mark)
    Great Cormorant2/0
    Little Pied Cormorant1/0
    Little Penguin6/0
    Crested Tern
    Pacific Gull2/2
    Silver Gull
    Cuckoo sp. (probably Pallid)1/0

    Eastern Reef Egret 0/1

    Fish & Mammals:
    Sunfish sp.0/1
    Mako Shark sp.0/1
    Australian Fur Seal10+/10+
    Common Dolphin50+/0
    Bottlenose Dolphin sp40/0
    Humpback Whale6/12
    Southern Right Whale1/0

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Sydney, NSW, Australia
    Can't wait for more photos, especially of the Mottled Petrel's

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Hopefully Tobias will put up some photos - mine are worthless (and I am not being modest)!

    I didn't realise Port Stephens was going out this weekend as well. So in total 6 pelagics (3 locations x 2 days) ran from NSW this weekend. And not really much of an overlap in the people who would normally go on the Gong trips. Also, all were quite different in terms of birds. Shows how much of this is just the luck to be in the right place at the time. I can't see that there was much to predict Eden would get the Cookilarias this weekend. Our winds were also really quite light (5 knots Sat, 10 knots Sun).

    Cheers Dan

  4. #4
    Storm-Petrel Tobias Hayashi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Canberra, Australia
    Sorry for the delay guys, still very busy at the moment. Attached is a collage of a Mottled Petrel on Saturday (left two images) and the Cook's Petrel on Saturday. Will attach a photo of the Sunday Cook's hopefully soonish.

    Attached Images Attached Images  

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