Subject: seawatch
From: Rod Gardner <>
Date: Thu, 25 Jun 1998 16:31:46 +1000
There's some pretty good seawatching to be had off Sydney at the moment,
with the strong _offshore_ southwesterlies. Highlights of a watch today,
Thursday, off Maroubra were:

Behind a trawler this morning were 27 Black-browed, 4 Yellow-nosed, and 1
Shy Albatrosses, and a Brown Skua. Another 2 Shys and more of the other two
albatrosses were also around, as were 2-3 giant petrels, but no Wanderers
Lots of prions offshore (into three figures), about 10 of which came right
into the bay, where the head pattern and tail (from above and below) could
be clearly seen - they were, as one would expect, Fairy Prions. Also one
probable Antarctic Prion, on which a more contrasting head pattern and the
distinctive undertail were discernible. But as it was a bit further out,
and I've never seen this species, I'll leave it as probable.
In a feeding flock of gulls, terns and shearwaters a couple of hundred
meters offshore were 55 White-fronted Terns, far outnumbering the Crested
One huge flock of about 5000 Fluttering Shearwaters passed by in about half
an hour, amongst which was a smattering of Hutton's. Conditions were just
about ideal for identification, with good light from behind, and the birds
close in and wheeling up into the wind, so the underwing could be seen just
about feather by feather.
Fifteen seabird species seen all told, and better than some pelagics I've
been on. Also a Swamp Harrier flew across the bay, and made a couple of
passes at some Fluttering Shearwaters.
If these winds keep up another day or two, it will be well worth a trip to
a headland. Even if the winds drop, it may well be good.

Rod Gardner

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