yet more from Maroubra

Subject: yet more from Maroubra
From: Rod Gardner <>
Date: Fri, 17 Jul 1998 10:44:07 +1000
I wasn't going to send in more reports from Maroubra, fearing overkill, but
there does seem a reason - the variety and quality of birds seems to be at
least as good as the recent pelagics off Sydney and Wollongong. So what's
going on?

On 15th there was cold weather with strong southerlies in Sydney. In an
hour's seawatch in the last hour of daylight, the following were seen:

Wandering Albatross - 1 (subspecies ?, a phase 6 bird, so lots of white on
the wings)
Black-browed Albatross - 25
Yellow-nosed Albatross - 160 - an unusually high number for here. Almost
all were flying south, so I'm confident the numbers are pretty accurate.
They were even 'flocking', with 12 flying in a tight bunch.
Southern Giant Petrel - a white morph. This morph is not often seen up here.
Providence Petrel - 35. These birds were flying downwind, whilst most of
the other species were predominantly flying south, upwind. If anyone wants
to see this species off Sydney without getting seasick, the time to look is
during strong southerlies, force 4-5 or higher (not se or sw), in June and
July. This is a pattern that has emerged over three years of watching, and
whilst I wouldn't guarantee them, I reckon it's well worth a go. Some of
them came in to about 100 meters.
Fairy Prion - 10
Slender-billed Prion - 1
prion sp - ca 70  Prion numbers have dropped significantly, but on 15th
they 'returned' in reasonable numbers. All the identified birds were close
in. Two weeks ago I wouldn't have been confident about the SBP, but having
now had close up views of about 350 FPs over the past two weeks, I'm sure
this was one.
Fluttering Shearwater - 100s. Not the thousands of last week.
Southern (Brown? Great?) Skua - 1
Also a few White-fronted Terns, Crested Terns, also Silver Gulls, ca. 60
Australasian Gannets, Great Cormorant and Little Pied Cormorant.

Rod Gardner

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