Port Fairy Pelagic 5 May 2002

Subject: Port Fairy Pelagic 5 May 2002
From: "Mike Carter" <>
Date: Sat, 11 May 2002 16:53:10 -0000

Port Fairy (PF), VIC, Pelagic Trip Report, 5 May 2002

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 year.

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 sick.

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 Dolphin.

Fish: The sounder revealed an abundance of fish in several areas.

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 (i.e. pelagic).

Little Penguin: 3 on LJPI.

Great-winged Petrel: 6 (3) of the nominate race.

Fairy Prion: 1.

Short-tailed Shearwater: 58 (6), (30 offshore, 10 inshore).

Fluttering Shearwater: 10,000 inshore.

Hutton’s Shearwater: 3 inshore with the Fluttering S/w.

Wandering Albatross: 1 exulans stage 4.

S. Royal Albatross: 1. Excellent views and photographs at close range adjacent

the Wandering Albatross.

Black-browed Albatross: 140 (80). 10 melanophris (5 offshore). 

 20 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.

Wilson’s Storm-Petrel: 1

Australasian Gannet: 140 (15), (80 offshore, 59 inshore, one pelagic).

Little Pied Cormorant: 1 inshore near PF.

Black-faced Cormorant: 2 on LJPI.

Arctic Jaeger: 6 (3), all inshore.

Pacific Gull: 3 inshore near PF.

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.

                        Mike Carter

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