Wollongong Pelagic Trip Report July 1998

Subject: Wollongong Pelagic Trip Report July 1998
From: "P.J. Milburn" <>
Date: Thu, 6 Aug 1998 23:19:10 +1000 (EST)
Apologies for belated posting.  Difficult conditions on the day, flu and
general confusion all contibuted to the delay!


Departed at 7.15 am and returned atapprox. 3.00 pm.  1.5 to 2.5m sea on a
2 to 3 m NE swell, decreasing later.  Winds NE 15 to 20 knot with a breif
respite  in the
afternoon.  Early heavy rain eased to heavy rain squalls later.

Leaving in torrential rain, we headed northeast from Wollongong harbour
into the heavy sea past  Bulli,
almost reaching the continental slope at 19 Nautical Miles E of the coast,
at a depth of some 95 fathoms.
We held our position into the sea for some 20 minutes using the engine and
attempted to make a slick of tuna oil etc.
Water temperature 15.6 to 16.8 degrees C.

 After the torrential rain eased we entered heavy shearwater traffic
heading south about 7 NM offshore.  Hundreds of prions were in this area
along with the days star attraction, a large, dark-headed prion with a
"ducks bill".  (Good description Edwin).  A similar bird was observed some
20 minutes later which startled me, at least, by towering to about 30m and
flying over the boat.  Good numbers of Albatross were around and the
numbers of adult Black-browed Albatross were unusually high relative to
young birds.  Several Campbell Albatross were also observed.  The first
Solander's petrel was observed about 10NM offshore as would be expexted
under these conditions.  We stopped the boat at about 11:00 hours at the
possible sighting of a first year Grey-headed Albatross.  Two first year
Grey-headed Albatross had been obsvered 2 days previously on a SOSSA
banding trip.  This sighting remained unconfirmed and to confuse matters a
first year Black-browed Albatross appeared in the guise of a Grey-headed.
After some lively debate the bird approached the boat and it was clearly
not the hoped for Grey-headed Albatross.

Under difficult conditions a number of birds were attracted to the boat,
including Solander's Petrels, a very obliging first year Northern Giant
Petrel and 2 Great-winged Petrels, apparently of the Indian Ocean race,
macroptera.  An early return was indicated by the nearly pandemic

On the return trip another slick was attemped at 5 NM offshore to which a
number of Fairy Prions and assorted Albatross were attracted.  About 1 NM
from the harbour a large feeding flock of Fluttering Shearwater was
encountered alnong with numerous Prions among which I observed 1
Slender-billed Prion from the bow.

A tough but interesting trip.  The views of the large-billed prion were
considered inadequate to distinguish between Broad-billed Prion (P.vittata)
and MacGillivray's Prion (P. salvini macgillivrayi) formerly held to be a
sub-species of P. vittata but now considered a sub-species of Salvin's
Prion (P. salvini).  Frustratingly, I observed another bird of this type on
Saturday August 1 abord the Sandra K with a similar inconclusive result.

(Note: numbers in brackets = highest count at any one time)

Little Penguin 1 in harbour
Wandering Albatross (gibsoni) 2 (1)
Shy Albatross 6 (2);  5 first year, 1 adult
Yellow-nosed Albatross (bassi)12 (7); 2 first year, 10 adult.... unusually
low number
Black-browed Albatross (T. melanophris) 55+ (35); 10 first year, 5
sub-adult, 40+ adult.... unusually high
Campbell Albatross (T. impavida)7 (3); 3 first year, 1 sub-adult, 3 adult
Northern Giant Petrel 1;  first year
Providence (Solander's) Petrel 10-15 (7)
Great-winged petrel (macroptera) 2 (2)
Fairy Prion 800+ (350+)
Broad-billed/Salvin's (Macgillivray's) Prion   2 (1); sweet frustration!!
Slender-billed Prion 1
Fluttering Shearwater 1500+ (1000+)
Hutton's Shearwater 2 (2)
Australian Pelican 2 (2) at sea
Australasian Gannet 15 (8)
Brown Skua 2
Silver Gull 30+  apparently staying ashore today!
Kelp Gull 1 adult
Crested Tern 10+ (7)

20 species of seabird - away from the breakwater (+/- 1 depending on
taxonomic view!)


None observed

Sydney Pelagics depart on the 2nd Saturday of each month, Wollongong
Pelagics depart on the 4th Sunday of each month and Eden Pelagics the 5th
Sunday of each quarter. If you would like to join one of these trips please
contact either Tony Palliser or Pete Milburn to make a booking.

Tony Palliser Ph; 02-99001678 (w), 02-94277563  (h)

Pete Milburn Ph; 0416-249501, 02-62551313 or Wk 02-62494326

Dr.Peter Milburn
Biomolecular Resource Facility
The Australian National University
GPO Box 334 Canberra ACT 0200  AUSTRALIA
Phone No.  <61> <2> 6249 4326
Fax No.    <61> <2> 6249 4326
E-mail Address  

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • Wollongong Pelagic Trip Report July 1998, P.J. Milburn <=

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU