Observers: Frank Mitchell, Philip Jackson, Russell Thompson,
Greg Hunt, Jim & Lyn Mason, Greg Pyers, Bob Gott, Graham Patterson, Helen
Mill, Geoff Walker, Sean Dooley and Mike Carter. This was
a private trip organised by Frank Mitchell. Report prepared by Mike
Weather: A high-pressure area was centred over western Bass
Strait. Mainly cloudy but usually bright and fine with good visibility. Several drizzle showers, (heavier rain
distantly). Cold. Very light winds, < 5 Kts N at first, freshening under
squalls to 8-10 Kts and turning E as we moved offshore but periods of absolute
Sea: Very slight to slight on a low swell. Thus it was
an exceptionally comfortable ride and no one was sick. This allowed some
inappropriate behaviour. One couple prepared their lunch aboard using a knife to
slice tomatoes and other vegetables!!!!! In normal conditions they’d have sliced
their hands and possibly other passengers. In future, finger food only or go
Activity: Sailed at 07.10. Just beyond the river mouth we
encountered a Hump-backed Whale and followed as it moved eastwards. Also
flocks of Fluttering Shearwaters (c.2,000) and Crested Terns. Sailed
slowly through these then headed out on a COG of 209º at 13.4 Kts. Birds were
widespread particularly Gannets and Yellow-nosed Albatrosses. 16 km out we were
surprised to see a Barn Owl heading NNW. At the 50 fathom line (50 km
out) there were flocks of seabirds where a concentration of krill cast a pink
shade over the sea. These included 200 Fairy Prions. As we headed for
deeper water we spotted a trawler working to the SE so we chased it. We
rendezvoused at 11.00 and berleyed there with fish scraps and shark liver till
12.00 (38º51’S 141º57’E in 220 fathoms). This attracted a few Petrels, >80
Albatrosses and >20 Storm-Petrels. Moved west about 10 km and then N to
berley again from 12.40 to 13.00 at 38º47.8’S 141º50.9’E at the shelf break
before heading in. Cruised the western and northern shores of Lady Julia Percy
Is. (LJPI) from 14.50 to 15.15. As we approached Port Fairy we encountered a
large aggregation of feeding mammals and seabirds including 110 Yellow-nosed
Albatrosses. Docked at 16.30.
Mammals: One Hump-backed Whale. A small number
of Australian Fur Seals were scattered throughout (only one in the pelagic
zone), >200 were feeding inshore
near PF & 1,000’s loafing at LJPI. >200 Common Dolphins and c.10
Bottle-nosed Dolphins were feeding inshore near PF.
Fish: The sounder revealed an abundance of fish in several
Birds: 26 species of seabird beyond the river mouth
indicated excellent diversity. The abundance was also high. The highlights are
emphasized in bold type. Unless noted otherwise, those listed below were near or
beyond the shelf break (i.e. pelagic).
Little Penguin: 14 near
Diving-Petrel: 2. 1 (pelagic) gave
an excellent sustained view flying
parallel to the boat at 30 kph & 1
S. Giant Petrel: 2 (1 ad.
offshore, 1 juv. pelagic). Both just flying past.
N. Giant Petrel: 2 (1 ad.
inshore, 1 juv. photographed at the
Great-winged Petrel: 8 (3)
of the nominate race.
Prion: 270 (150), 250
Sooty Shearwater: 1
Short-tailed Shearwater: 10
(2), (7 offshore, 2 inshore).
Wandering Albatross: 5. 4
exulans, 3 stage 4 & 1 juv., and 1 stage 6
Albatross: 1 passed in the middle
Black-browed Albatross: 60
(35). 45 melanophris (16 offshore, 4 inshore).
impavida mostly adults in the pelagic zone.
Shy Albatross: cauta
60 (50), (9 offshore, 1 inshore).
Albatross: 1 juv.
Albatross: 146 (110), (only 4
pelagic, 22 offshore, 120 inshore).
Albatross: 5 (3) all adults, photos
of some ( 1 offshore).
Wilson’s Storm-Petrel: 35
(20), (1 offshore).
Australasian Gannet: c. 300,
(150 offshore, many feeding; 150 inshore).
Black-faced Cormorant: 3. 2
on LJPI & 1 near PF.
Pacific Gull: 1 inshore near
Kelp Gull: 2 on
Silver Gull: 33. 1 offshore,
25 on LJPI & 7 inshore near PF.
Crested Tern: c.440. 40
offshore over the krill & 400 feeding inshore.
White-fronted Tern: 1
Also of interest, @ 08.30 a
Barn Owl flying WNW 2 m asl 16 kms off