birding-aus Perth Pelagic Trip May 23rd 1999

Subject: birding-aus Perth Pelagic Trip May 23rd 1999
From: "Frank O'Connor" <>
Date: Sun, 23 May 1999 23:02:55 +0800

Participants (19) :
Frank O'Connor (organiser), Des Agnew, Pam Agnew, Marjory Clegg, Kevin
Coate, Dave Crossley, Jan Crossley, Hazel Darnell, John Darnell, Robin
Doughty (ACT), Tony Kirkby, Shirley Kral (ACT), Graham Little, Bill
McRoberts, Cameron Platell, Pieter Poot, Wladyslaw Sarafin, Bob Sothman
(SA), Nigel Sutherland

Conditions :
Departed Hillarys Boat Harbour at 7.10am - returned at 3.55pm. The forecast
was for a 1.4 metre sea on a 2.5 metre swell. The going was very smooth to
Rottnest with conditions becoming lumpier further out. The swell was
travelling west, so it took longer to return into the swell and the 15knots
easterly. The day was fine with a minimum of 6 degrees as we left and a
maximum of 20 degrees. The previous week had seen a series of fronts pass
through. This plus the abnormally high water temperatures promised a day of

Description :
A good trip overall with 8 pelagic species plus Great Skua, Arctic Jaeger
and Australasian Gannet. However, it was a slow start as usual until past
Rottnest, and the afternoon was very quiet. The highlight were the high
numbers of Soft-plumaged Petrels including two grey birds and a Cape Petrel.
No cetaceans were seen but an identified turtle was briefly seen.

The day started out slowly as usual with hardly a bird seen before we
reached Rottnest. As we reached Rottnest a Wedge-tailed Shearwater and an
Arctic Jaeger flew past quickly. There was very little apart from
Australasian Gannets as we passed Rottnest and we headed west.

As we got deeper we began to see Flesh-footed Shearwaters which were mostly
in moult, a few Yellow-nosed Albatross the first Great-winged Petrels, and a
few Great Skuas that were relatively common during the day. As we passed 200
metres depth, we started burleying with beef fat and pilchards which brought
in the birds including the first two Wilson's Storm-Petrels.

We stopped again at 450 metres depth after a possible prion was sighted and
put out a slick which attracted good numbers of Soft-plumaged Petrels,
Great-winged Petrels, several Wilson's Storm-Petrels and the first Cape Petrel.

We headed further west and passed the 115 longitude and the depth sounder
went off the scales at over 800 metres. However things were getting quieter,
and they became quieter still as we headed north of the 32 latitude, and
then made our way back to Hillarys. We made a quick stop for some
Soft-plumaged Petrels which included a Kerguelen Petrel near the back of the

A (Green?) turtle about 60cm long made a brief unusual sighting well out of
its normal range indicating the influence of the warmer water. If I had
realised that turtles are well out of range (the distribution of most end at
Shark Bay) I would have stopped for a better look. This was the first trip
that we have seen no whales or dolphins.

Thanks to the skipper Trevor and the deck hand Dan.

Time/Latitude/Longitude/Depth/Distance/Bearing of most stoppages:
07:10 S31° 49' 34", E115° 44' 16", 6m, 0.0km, 0° (Hillarys Wharf)
08:05 S31° 57' 09", E115° 33' 04", 25m, 22.5km, 234°
08:10 S31° 58' 02", E115° 30' 46", 27m, 26.4km, 236°
08:45 S32° 01' 19", E115° 21' 37", 97m, 41.7km, 241°
09:05 S32° 02' 51", E115° 15' 45", 134m, 51.1km, 244°
09:20 S32° 03' 59", E115° 11' 30", 240m, 58.0km, 245° (stopped until 09:50)
10:20 S32° 05' 29", E115° 04' 51", 450m, 68.6km, 247° (stopped until 10:55)
11:25 S32° 06' 42", E114° 58' 40", 800+m, 78.3km, 249° (stopped until 11:45)
12:45 S31° 59' 44", E114° 59' 41", 800+m, 72.6km, 257° (stopped until 12:55)
13:55 S31° 57' 52", E115° 15' 02", 160m, 48.5km, 254° (stopped until 14:00)

Bird List (Christidis & Boles order) :
Cape Petrel (2)
Kerguelen Petrel (1)
Great-winged Petrel (~40)
Soft-plumaged Petrel (~100) 2 grey morph
Wedge-tailed Shearwater (5)
Flesh-footed Shearwater (~80) many moulting
Yellow-nosed Albatross (race bassi) (~30)
Wilson's Storm-Petrel (~25)
Australasian Gannet (6 immatures)
Great Skua (9)
Arctic Jaeger (5)
Silver Gull (~30)
Crested Tern (~40)
Darter (1) harbour
Little Pied Cormorant (1) harbour
Pied Cormorant (15) outside harbour
Great Cormorant (1) harbour
Silver Gull (20+) harbour
Caspian Tern (1) harbour
Singing Honeyeater (1) harbour
Australian Raven (1) harbour
Welcome Swallow (~200) harbour

Mammal List :

Green Turtle (?) Chelonia mydas

Next Trip :
The next trips will be on Sunday 11th July 1999 and 5th September 1999. For
details contact Frank O'Connor on 08 9386 5694 or email 
Frank O'Connor                  Argyle Diamonds
8C Hardy Road                   PMB 11
Nedlands  WA  6009              West Perth  WA  6872
Phone   +61 8 9386 5694         +61 8 9167 1445
ICQ 14655047                    Fax +61 8 9167 1438
Birding WA

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