Seabirds during a Survey in Bass Strait

Subject: Seabirds during a Survey in Bass Strait
From: Gil Langfield <>
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2000 18:55:21 +1000
I was on a trawler in Bass Strait for a week recently, with some CSIRO types doing a survey of the seabed. We sailed in almost a direct line from Seaspray, Victoria to Bell Bay, Tasmania, stopping every 10 km or so to photograph the seabed and take samples of bottom sediments. We also stopped and sheltered behind islands during days of gale-force winds. We did not get anywhere near the edge of the shelf (max. water depth about 75 metres) and so the seabirds were not that interesting.

Only 3 species of albatross were seen, Black-browed, Shy and Yellow-nosed with overall numbers in the same order. I have seen Wandering from the platforms in Bass Strait and was surprised not to see any this time, only a little further south. There were also Northern Giant Petrels near Deal Island and a few Cape Petrels in the area west of Flinders Island. Gannets, Pacific Gulls and Crested Terns were seen closer to land and the islands. White-bellied Sea Eagles were seen at Erith and Prime Seal Island.

New birds for me were Common Diving Petrel and Grey-backed Storm Petrel, the former in largish numbers between Pyramid Rock and Prime Seal Island, and only one of the latter in the same area. Both a Diving Petrel and a Fairy Prion crashed on board the vessel and I was able to look at them in the hand before release.

My records will be sent to the Atlas.


Gil Langfield
Melbourne, Australia

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