Portland Pelagic

To: ausbird <>
Subject: Portland Pelagic
From: "Hicks, Roger" <>
Date: Mon, 14 Apr 1997 09:47:00 +1000
A week later than planned, inclement weather in the form of very strong
winds claimed the scheduled  trip, a pelagic from Portland, SW Victoria,
went  ahead,  on 13th April in fine conditions. In fact, the weather was
probably too fine, with a low number of species and  total numbers of
birds recorded. By compensation, those on board were treated to
wonderful views of 2, possibly 4, Blue Whales seen about 8 miles south
of Lawrence Rock both on the outward and return journey to Portland. One
spouted, close enough to the boat to smell its breath and seen rolling
on its side with a huge flipper in the air. This close encounter of the
Leviathan kind was the highlight for most on board.

Weather was fine with minimal cloud cover for much of the day and
temperatures climbing to the high 20s. The wind was 5-10 knots for most
of the day but increasing to 20 knots in mid-afternoon giving us a bumpy
ride home. The sea was slight with no swell and not a single case of
mal-de-mer. We reached the shelf about 20 miles south of Lawrence Rocks,
motored west along the shelf and then returned to Portland.

Those on board were: Ian Ashton, Gail Berry, Rob Berry, Mike Carter,
Peter Crabtree, Murray Grant, Ivor Grainey, Roger Hicks, Martin
Hulzebosch, Peter Lansley, Rory O+Brien, Rod Sympson.


Little Penguin 1 in moult, on Lawrence Rocks and another dead in the sea
over the shelf
Black-browed Albatross 30+ attracted to +chum+ put over the side of
which about half were the pale-eyed race
Yellow-nosed Albatross 10 - In the morning seen closer inshore than
other two species of albatross
Shy Albatross 30 attracted to +chum+ commonest albatross over the shelf
Great-winged Petrel 10 over the deeper water at the shelf
Fleshy-footed Shearwater 4 over the shelf
Short-tailed Shearwater small numbers (<20) in shore and 1 over shelf
Fluttering Shearwater 6
Wilson+s Storm Petrel one flock of 30 over the shelf and other
individuals seen during the day
White-faced Storm Petrel up to 6 with the Wilson+s Storm Petrels and
other singles seen through the day.
Common Diving Petrel 1
Australasian Gannet Numerous inshore with the colony on Lawrence Rocks
being the focus of their movements
Black-faced Shag 50+ on the rocks of Lawrence Rocks
Pacific Gull Portland Harbour
Silver Gull Portland Harbour and Lawrence Rocks 
Crested Tern Portland Harbour and 2 over the shelf
Arctic Skua (Jaeger) 6 2 light phase and 4 dark phase including 2 light
grey/brown birds
Long-tailed Skua possibly one


Blue Whale 2-4 about 8 miles south of Lawrence Rocks

It is hoped to arrange Pelagics out of Portland on a regular monthly
basis. The next trip, weather permitting will be on Sunday 4th May.
There 12 places available on a first come first served basis. Those
interested in participating should contact Mike Carter on 03-97877136.

Thanks to Mike Carter for organising this pelagic and to skipper John
Bolitho for taking us out.

Good Birding,


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Roger Hicks                     Tel :   03-9315-0353 (home)
3 Seaview Crescent,                     03-9865-8613 (work)
Victoria 3018                   E-mail: 
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