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