Port Fairy Pelagic 1.7.01

Subject: Port Fairy Pelagic 1.7.01
From: "Mike Carter" <>
Date: Tue, 3 Jul 2001 19:24:25 +1000

Port Fairy (PF), VIC, Pelagic Trip Report, 1 July 2001

Observers: Rohan Clarke, Euan Fothergill, Richard Loyn, Rob & Gail Berry, David Stigney, Robbie Brown, Stuart Cooney, Andrew Wegener, Joe Gatt, Brent Stephenson (N.Z.) and Mike Carter (leader).

Weather: A large, strong, high-pressure system was centred over Victoria. A beautiful day; sunny with clear, sharp visibility. Cold; c. 6-12* C. Wind: Calm inshore; 5-10 Kt NNW out-wide.

Sea: Slight, becoming glassy on a low swell inshore. Slight on a long pitched 2 m swell offshore. Thus it was a very gentle trip and no one was sick.

Activity: Sailed @ 07.35. Headed out SSW @ 12.5 Kts. Between 16 & 20 Nm out, encountered flocks of seabirds, There were feeding Gannets and Fairy Prions, gorged Albatrosses and Sooty Shearwaters (unusual in winter), sitting on the sea centred on 38*36.4’S 142*02’E (depth 30 fathoms). If our course had been 1 Nm further east, we’d have missed this concentration. Cruised through these from 09.05 to 09.50 before continuing our rush to the shelf-break. Once there, we stopped to berley with shark liver and sliced couta at three locations within a 5 km radius of 38*50’S 141*51’E over depths from 191 to 315 fathoms, from 11.00 to 13.10 (c. 60 km SSW of PF). On way in, cruised W & S shores of Lady Julia Percy Island (LJPI) from 15.20 to 15.45. Docked @ 16.45.

Mammals:  Five Bottle-nosed Dolphins (small inshore form), at mouth of the River Moyne at PF. A pod of 25 Common Dolphins were near to the massed seabirds, 16 Nm off Port Fairy. 1,000’s of Seals at LJPI and a few elsewhere.

Birds:  An entertaining and interesting day with abundant bird life but nothing rare. What a difference a fortnight makes! Well that’s how it appeared. But I suspect the variable that made the difference from two-weeks ago was not time but luck. On this occasion we traversed a rich patch of water.

20 species of seabird identified beyond the river mouth indicated about average diversity. The highlight was the abundance of several species especially Sooty Shearwaters.

Unless noted otherwise, most listed below were inshore (depth 40 fathoms or less).

Little Penguin: 1 near LJPI & 1 twixt there and PF.

Common Diving-Petrel: 3 off PF.

Cape Petrel: 2 (1) (1 pelagic).

Great-winged Petrel: 15 (8), all pelagic, all macroptera.

Slender-billed Prion: 1 pelagic.

Fairy Prion: 300 (200).

Sooty Shearwater: 50 (50).

Short-tailed Shearwater: 1 pelagic.

Fluttering Shearwater: 8 (3).

Black-browed Albatross: melanophris 160 (100), impavida     2 pelagic.

Shy Albatross: cauta 150 (70).

Yellow-nosed Albatross: 100 (100).

Australasian Gannet: 120 (100).

Black-faced Cormorant: 1 off PF.

Great Skua: 6 (3).

Pacific Gull: 1 off PF.

Kelp Gull: 10 on LJPI.

Silver Gull: 20 on LJPI & 10 nearer PF.

Crested Tern: 34 (5).

White-fronted Tern: 2.

    On LJPI, we could also see a Swamp Harrier, 2 Brown Falcon, 1 Nankeen Kestrel, 3 Sooty Oystercatcher, 1 White-fronted Chat & some Welcome Swallows.

    Of interest adjacent to the river in Port Fairy, we had a Little Egret and a Hooded Plover.

                                                    Mike Carter


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