PERTH WESTERN AUSTRALIA PELAGIC TRIP REPORT 11th July 1999
Participants (23) :
Frank O'Connor (organiser), Des Agnew, Pam Agnew, Bruce Angus, Simon Angus,
Paul Baker, Jan Crossley, John Blyth, Judy Blyth, John Darnell, John
Darnell, Tony Kirkby, Roger McGovern, Glenn Moore, Pieter Poot, Chris Reidy,
Diane Reidy, Tony Russell, Wladyslaw Sarafin, Nigel Sutherland, Alex Watson,
Departed Hillarys Boat Harbour at 7.00am - returned at 3.15pm. The forecast
was for a 1 metre sea on a 1.5 metre swell. The going was generally smooth.
The day was fine with a minimum of 11 degrees as we left and a maximum of 21
degrees. The wind was 10 to 15 knots from the north east.
This was a mixed trip compared to the trip at this time the previous year.
The number of species was good, but the overall number of birds was very
low. We saw 7 pelagic species plus Great Skua, Bridled Tern and Australasian
Gannet. The most unusual sighting was the immature Bridled Tern that came in
very close to the back of the boat. There were excellent photo opportunities
for Southern Giant-Petrel and Cape Petrel. One Humpback Whale just west of
Rottnest Island was the only cetacean.
The day started out slowly as usual until a group of about 25 Australasian
Gannets, and three Great Skuas as we approached Rottnest. Near Rottnest
there were good numbers of Crested Terns. The first pelagic species was a
distant Yellow-nosed Albatross as we headed west from Rottnest.
As we got deeper there was little except for more Crested Terns, a few
Yellow-nosed Albatross and some more Australaian Gannets and the first Cape
Petrel. We stopped briefly a couple of times but little came to the boat
until passed 200 metres depth. We burleyed with lamb fat, pilchards, pollard
and fish oil which brought in only a few birds birds including the first
Black-browed Albatross which did not stay long.
We stopped for 30 minutes at 240 metres and put out a very good slick but
again the action was quiet in numbers. The first Soft-plumaged Petrel was
welcomed by everyone, plus three more Cape Petrels and just as we were about
to move on a Southern Giant-Petrel came in and settled on the water. We
approached to about 5 metres while it remained on the water with the Cape
Petrels and took good photographs.
We stopped again at 330 metres depth after we saw two petrels, one of which
was most probably the only Great-winged Petrel that we saw for the day. An
immature Bridled Tern caused interest as it came to just a few metres from
the back of the boat, but it moved on before any photographs could be taken.
It was very similar to the flight picture illustrated in Pizzey & Knight
with perhaps more white / grey on the forehead / crown. Bridled Terns are
very unusual in this area at this time of the year.
We stayed in closer this trip to give more times for stoppages but after
about 10:30am it was difficult to find any birds. Most of those seen were
sitting on the water including a Soft-plumaged Petrel. A White-faced
Storm-Petrel was seen briefly at 420 metres. This is also uncommon in the
We headed back for Hillarys at 1pm seeing quite a few Yellow-nosed Albatross
sitting on the water, plus a few more Great Skuas as we got close to Hillarys.
Perhaps the north east breeze was the reason for the low number of birds, or
possibly the water temperature was still warmer than usual. The latter
could explain the Bridled Tern and White-faced Storm-Petrel. The lack of
more Great-winged Petrels and any Wilson's Storm-Petrels was very surprising.
Thanks to the skipper Trevor and the deck hand Dave.
Time/Latitude/Longitude/Depth/Distance/Bearing of most stoppages:
I will update this next weekend on my web pages.
Bird List (Christidis & Boles order) (Max numbers in brackets):
Southern Giant-Petrel 1 (1)
Cape Petrel 6 (3)
Great-winged Petrel 1 (1)
Soft-plumaged Petrel 8 (2)
Black-browed Albatross 2 (1)
Yellow-nosed Albatross (race bassi) 55+ (15)
White-faced Storm-Petrel 1 (1)
Australasian Gannet 55+ (20)
Great Skua 8 (3)
Silver Gull ~20 (4)
Crested Tern ~60 (20)
Nankeen Night Heron (1) harbour
Darter (3) harbour
Little Pied Cormorant harbour
Little Black Cormorant harbour
Pied Cormorant outside harbour
Silver Gull harbour
Welcome Swallow (2) harbour
Mammal List :
Humpback Whale (1)
Next Trip :
The next trips will be on Sunday 5th September 1999. The trips next year are
unsure, but hopefully I will organise a trip in late April, late June and
possibly late August. For details contact Frank O'Connor on 08 9386 5694 or
8C Hardy Road
Nedlands WA 6009
Phone : +61 8 9386 5694
ICQ : 14655047
Birding WA http://www.iinet.net.au/~foconnor
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