Port Fairy (PF), VIC, Pelagic Trip Report, 5 May
Observers: Rohan Clarke, Chris & Rosemary Lester, Tania
Ireton, Rob & Gail Berry, David Stickney, Frank Pierce, Geoff Walker, Andrew
Wells, Rob Farnes, Sean Dooley and Mike Carter.
This trip was organized by Chris Lester (03) 9370 7418, as will most
until December 2002. He is also taking bookings for next
Weather: A high-pressure area was centred over Victoria.
Mainly bright and fine, but with an occasional brief drizzle shower in the
morning. Sky was overcast with thin cloud until 11.30, then clear and sunny.
Mild. Wind N, 5 Kts at first, freshening as we moved offshore to about 12 Kts
then easing. By late afternoon < 5 Kts NW.
Sea: Slight on near zero swell inshore early, rising to
choppy offshore, moderating beyond the shelf. Continued to ease and by evening
inshore, just a ripple. Thus it was a comfortable ride and no one was
Activity: Sailed at 07.04 EST. Just beyond the river mouth
encountered a vast flock (c.10,000) of Fluttering Shearwaters, some
feeding but most moving west. Sailed slowly these on a COG of 206º for
half-hour. From then on birds were scarce as we continued out to the shelf at 13
Kts. Our first berley stop, beyond the shelf in 216 fathoms at 38º49.05’S
141º54.30’E, from 09.47 to 10.15 also produced few birds. Moved west about 10 km
to berley again with shark liver from 11.15 to 12.10 at 39º49.5’S 141º47.9’E.
Here we attracted more birds including a S. Royal Albatross. Headed in at
12.30 and cruised the western and northern shores of Lady Julia Percy Is. (LJPI)
from 14.40 to 15.00. Between there and Port Fairy were our largest ever flock of
Crested Terns (c.300), which had joined 200-300 Common Dolphins and 100
Australian Fur Seals in a feeding frenzy. Docked at 16.15.
Mammals: Australian Fur Seals, 1,000’s loafing at LJPI and
>100 with the Common Dolphins mentioned above and one Bottle-nosed
Fish: The sounder revealed an abundance of fish in several
Birds: 20 species of seabird beyond the river mouth
indicated below average diversity. The highlights are emphasized in bold type.
Unless noted otherwise, most listed below were near or beyond the shelf break
Little Penguin: 3 on
Great-winged Petrel: 6 (3)
of the nominate race.
Short-tailed Shearwater: 58
(6), (30 offshore, 10 inshore).
Hutton’s Shearwater: 3
inshore with the Fluttering S/w.
Wandering Albatross: 1
exulans stage 4.
Albatross: 1. Excellent views and
photographs at close range adjacent
the Wandering Albatross.
Black-browed Albatross: 140
(80). 10 melanophris (5 offshore).
impavida mostly adults in the pelagic zone.
Shy Albatross: cauta
43 (35), (3 offshore).
Yellow-nosed Albatross: 4
(1), (2 offshore), 3 ads & 1 juv.
Australasian Gannet: 140
(15), (80 offshore, 59 inshore, one pelagic).
Little Pied Cormorant: 1
inshore near PF.
Black-faced Cormorant: 2 on
Arctic Jaeger: 6 (3), all
Pacific Gull: 3 inshore near
Kelp Gull: 14, including
only 2 juvs. on LJPI.
Silver Gull: 40 on LJPI
& 5 inshore near PF.
Crested Tern: c.450. 300
feeding inshore in pm & 150 on LJPI.
Also of interest, a
White-faced Heron flying towards land several kms off PF, and a pair of
Peregrines on LJPI.