birding-aus March 1999 Wollongong Pelagic Trip Report

Subject: birding-aus March 1999 Wollongong Pelagic Trip Report
From: "P.J. Milburn" <>
Date: Sat, 29 May 1999 18:17:01 +1000

Departed at 7.15 am and returned at approx. 2.30 pm.  Sea UGLY+ rising to
over 3m later with a S swell increasing from1.5 to 3.0 m.  Winds S from15
to 35 Kts with much stronger squalls.  Weather variable,  rain squalls
early, clearing with bright periods later in the day.  Air temperature
range: 18 to 24 °C.
Water temperature 19.9 to 22.3 degrees C.

A highly atypical March trip with a strong southerly change passing through
the area.  With an intrepid group abord eager to see typical March
specialities, in particular Streaked Shearwater and Grey Ternlet, we headed
out to sea even though it was already pretty rough conditions and we would
not reach deep water.  We headed south into the sea knowing that as
conditions worsened we would be able to run home with sea behind.  I
expected that broken bones would be the most likely outcome of the trip but
instead we were treated to views of GREY TERNLET (which was very hard to
pick up under the rough conditions) and a STREAKED SHEARWATER which
attended the boat for lengthy periods.  Eventually, sitting behind the boat!

We went a long way south and managed to reach some 18 NM E of Kiama where
we held our position into the sea and attempted to bereley in birds when no
birds had been recorded for about 30 minutes!  After an hour or we had
attracted a pretty impressive crowd with no fewer than 7 species of
shearwater being included!

We encountered the GREY TERNLET about 7NM out in 35FM at a warm current.
Miraculously, the STREAKED SHEARWATER appeared out of the boiling sea right
behind the boat, about 5 minutes after we began optimistically throwing
fish scraps into an ocean apparently devoid of birds.

My highlight of the day was our unusual mammal sighting......... for many
others it was feel of solid ground after being reminded about the power of
the ocean!!

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

Little Penguin 6 (3), near the 5 Island Group.
Great-winged Petrel 67 (65)
Wedge-tailed Shearwater 38 (25)
Fluttering Shearwater 24 (8)
Hutton's Shearwater 3 (2)
Short-tailed Shearwater 2 (1)
Sooty Shearwater 1
Flesh-footed Shearwater 113 (85)
Australasian Gannet 63 (27)
Australian Pelican 200+: at 5 Islands
Parasitic Jeager 10 (7); including some stunning fresh plumage adults!
Pomarine Jeager 15 (10)
Silver Gull ~175 (150)
Kelp Gull 1 (1)1st year.
Crested Tern 5 (4);  low numbers, probably due to rough weather.
GREY TERNLET 1; 7NM offshore

White-faced Heron 2; at sea, heading north (south seemed pretty unlikely in
this weather!)

17 species of seabird identified - away from the breakwater


Mastif Bat sp.  heading north about 4 miles out to sea!

All Pelagic Trips from NSW are operated at no profit to the organisers
being operated as group boat charters for the benefit of all who wish to
join us.

Sydney Pelagics depart on the 2nd Saturday of each month and Wollongong
Pelagics depart on the 4th Sunday of each month.  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: Mobile 0416-249 506, 02-6255 1313 Home or 02-62494326  Work.

Eden Pelagics are run on the 3rd Sunday of each month.   Bookings to
<> or by  phone to Barbara Jones on (02) 6495 7390.

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  

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