June 9 2001 Newcastle Pelagic

Subject: June 9 2001 Newcastle Pelagic
From: richard baxter <>
Date: Sun, 17 Jun 2001 18:16:57 -0700 (PDT)

Newcastle N.S.W Pelagic Trip Report ? 6 June 2001.


Depart Swansea 7am

Return 3pm

Sunny all day

Stong Westerly wind making wind chill uncomfortable

Swell ? negligible

Reached 62km offshore.

Water temp 20C+

Those on board:

Richard Baxter, Phil Hansbro, Al Gillies, Jim Smart, Keith Laverick, Robert Quninan, Graeme O?Conner, Michael Todd, Peter Chegwiggen, George Oaks, Leone Beadly and Ray Everett.


An unremarkable pelagic trip with the highlights being cetacean rathing than birding. In the days leading up to the trip Newcastle had experienced several southerly cold changes through the area, which looked like producing some winter birds, but this was not to be. The morning dawned sunny, but with strong westerly winds which flatened the ocean and made for a smooth fast trip out to beyond the shelf. The water temperature was over 20C at the shelf and it soon became clear that all the summer birds had already departed north. Unfortunately none of the winter birds had arrived from down south, as yet.

After leaving the Swansea Channel it became obvious that all the Wedge-tailed and Short-tailed Shearwaters had departed north and the highlight was a pod of Dolphins which followed us out. About 5km offshore we saw two Humpback Whales travelling in a northerly direction and right on cue one of them jumped out of the water, breaching in front of us. It looked like the entire whale cleared the water and everyone on board had excellent views. We watched the whales for while before continuing our journey east. It was at about 20km offshore we saw our first Black-browed Albatross.

We continued to the shelf and beyond and only saw several Crested Terns on the way. Upon arriving at the 62km mark we began to chum and soon had several Providence Petrels around the boat. We spent about 2hrs at this location and recorded about 100 Providence Petrels as we were blown several kilometres east with the strong winds. With no other birds present this gave all on board an excellent opportunity to brush up on their Providence Petrel identification. Just prior to departing for home a lone Wilson?s Storm Petrel flew past the boat and was quickly lost sight of.

The journey home proved equally uneventful, with the sighting of a single Black-browed Albatross in roughly the same spot as the one we saw on the way out. This was probably the same bird and it looked just as bored as we did with no other birds about. It is interesting to note that we did not see a single Shearwater of any type all day.

Bird List

Note: Numbers in parenthesis indicates highest number at any one time.

-088 Black-browed Albatross 2 (1)

-971 Providence Petrel 100+ (100+)

-063 Wilson?s Storm Petrel 1 (1)

-115 Crested Tern 30 (25)

-104 Australian Gannet 12 (6)

-125 Silver Gull 20 (15)

-106 Australasian Pelican 5 (3)

Other Critters:

1 x Pod of Bottle-nosed Dolphins

2 Humpback Whales


Richard Baxter


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