BELLBOCA Pelagic Port Fairy

Subject: BELLBOCA Pelagic Port Fairy
From: "Mike Carter" <>
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001 13:10:38 +1000

Port Fairy (PF), VIC, Pelagic Trip Report, 22 July 2001

This was a BELLBOCA outing organized by Peter Bright.

Observers: Peter Bright, Glen White, Ian Montgomery, Rob Cowdell, Pam Rae, Robert Ganly, Kay Campbell, Denise Hanson, Brian Hart, Liz Ferguson, Brendan Hellard and Mike Carter (leader).

Weather: A large, strong, high-pressure system stretched from Bass Strait to the Bight. A beautiful day; mostly sunny with clear, sharp visibility. Cold. Wind: 0-10 Kt NE.

Sea: Slight, becoming glassy in p.m., on a low swell inshore. Slight on a long pitched 2 m swell offshore. Thus it was a gentle trip. Some felt a little queasy and briefly sick but no one was seriously ill.

Activity: Sailed @ 07.35. Spent the first half-hour in the bay just off the beach watching a Southern Right Whale at close range and the next half-hour just a little further out studying 3 Giant Petrels which we attracted to the boat with berley. Then headed out SSW @ 13.6 Kts. Birds were thinly and widely scattered. About 22 Nm out, we encountered flocks of feeding Gannets and small numbers of other species (depth 56 fathoms). Also, 10 Common Dolphins. After crossing the shelf break @ 11.15, we stopped to berley with shark liver and sliced couta at three locations within a 5 km radius of 38*51’S 141*51’E (c. 60 km SSW of PF) over depths from 250 to 360 fathoms until 13.20. On way in, cruised W & S shores of Lady Julia Percy Island (LJPI) from 15.25 to 15.50. Docked @ 16.50.

Mammals:  Three Southern Right Whales in shallow water, 2 just off the beach, in the Bay immediately east of the mouth of the River Moyne at PF. Five were seen here yesterday and up to 8 previously. A pod of 10 Common Dolphins were near to the feeding Gannets, 22 Nm off Port Fairy. These had a pale to white triangular mark on the dorsal fin, more prominent than usual, at least in my recollection. 1,000’s of Australian Fur Seals were at LJPI and a few elsewhere.

Birds:  An entertaining and interesting day but nothing rare. 21 species of seabird identified beyond the river mouth indicated about average diversity. The highlight was probably the opportunity to compare at close range juveniles of both species of Southern and Northern Giant Petrels. Unless noted otherwise, most listed below were in pelagic waters.

Little Penguin: 1 near LJPI & 2 twixt there and PF.

Common Diving-Petrel: 2-3 between LJPI & PF.

S. Giant Petrel: 2 inshore. Also one unidentified GP.

N. Giant Petrel: 2. 1 inshore with SGP in a.m. and another sound asleep sitting on sea with head tucked into mantle/scapulars near LJPI in p.m.

Cape Petrel: 1.

Great-winged Petrel: 8 (7), 6 macroptera, 2 gouldi. One was worn or aberrant. Its plumage was brown, not black; it had a large pale triangular shaped patch on the belly and a long pale streak along the base of the secondaries on the underwing.

Antarctic Prion: 1.

Fairy Prion: 10 (7), 3 in offshore waters.

Short-tailed Shearwater: 5 in offshore waters.

Fluttering Shearwater: 150 (150). 4 inshore and 3 offshore in a.m.; the remainder flying to the west in an almost continuous line between PF & LJPI in p.m.

Wandering Albatross: 3. exulans stage 1, 2 gibsoni, stages 3/4  &  5/6.

Black-browed Albatross: melanophris 80 (30) (all areas), impavida 10 (pelagic).

Shy Albatross: cauta 110 (40) (all areas but mostly pelagic).

Yellow-nosed Albatross: 8 (4), 2 offshore, 4 pelagic.

Australasian Gannet: 310 (300). Feeding concentration 22 Nm out in 56 fathoms.

Black-faced Cormorant: 2 off PF.

Great Skua: 2 (1).

Pacific Gull: 2 off PF.

Kelp Gull: 6 on LJPI.

Silver Gull: 10 on LJPI.

Crested Tern: 18 (6). All areas.

    On LJPI, we could also see 2 Swamp Harriers, 1 Nankeen Kestrel, 4 Sooty Oystercatchers and 4 Welcome Swallows. Crossing the Bay at PF was a Little Raven. 

                                                          Mike Carter

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