To: <>
Subject: shearwaters
From: "bette" <>
Date: Sat, 19 Dec 1998 16:22:37 +1100
Further to the recent reports of beachwashed Short tailed Shearwaters, last
week we were driving north east along the road between Seaspray and Letts
beach on the Ninety Mile beach in Gippsland.
Much to our surprise we came across a S.T. Shearwater sitting in the middle
of the road. I moved it to the side of the road in the vain hope that it
might make it back to sea.We encountered several more at various intervals
along the road.
There was a strong south easterly blowing and  dozens more were flying over
the beach as well as many more dead and dying birds on the sand.
I realised we were witnessing a wreck in progress.
It was a distressing sight and knowing you can't do a thing to help except
will a change in the wind direction.
A lone Bar tailed Godwit was taking refuge from the awful conditions,
huddled down amongst a group of Pacific Gulls.
I well remember a remarkable "pelagic wreck' in the early/mid? eighties
when Mike Carter, Peggy Mitchell and myself witnessed the amazing sight of
Blue Petrels,Kerguelen Petrel and Great winged Petrel flying just above our
heads at the Sorrento back beach on the Mornington Peninsula.
That same wreck produced many sightings of the Common diving Petrel, Broad
billed and Fairy Prion and Cape Petrel.
Beachwashed specimens of many pelagic species were collected for many weeks
to follow.
Fortunately we haven't had a wreck of that magnitude for many years in our
A couple of weeks ago while taking part in a regular fortnightly survey of
Hooded Plovers we found a beachwashed Southern Fulmar in perfect condition
on the Portsea back beach{Mornington Pen.}
Last year at the same spot I found a White headed Petrel. 
Does anyone have figures for the mortality rate of first year S.T.
I guess you have to allow for the vagaries of the weather!!
                                  Merry Christmas to all.
                                           Bett Mitchell.

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