Yesterday, I led a group of 29
CBOC members for our annual outing to Magic Pt Maroubra in hoping to have a
repeat success of last years outing (held on 29th July 2001).
Unfortunately, the timing was not right as our outing was the day before the
29th! (A southerly has just come through the Sydney are today.
For most of the day it was
probably my quietest sea watch ever from Magic Pt with winds appearing to be
moderate from mainly the west-north west (which is opposite to what we desired)
which meant many of the seabirds were too far out or just sitting on the water
(which included many Black-browed Albatrosses). However, I did see (amongst a
group of Albatrosses well over 1 km out) what I would be almost certain another
GREY-HEADED ALBATROSS (probably the one we saw a month ago) as it definitely had
very dark under-wings (no traces of white) and what appeared to be a complete
dark grey hood and bill (the later I certainly would need to clearly see to be
During this quite time, we were
partly compensated with distant, but brief views of a few Humpback Whales and
much closer, Common Dolphins.
It was not until about
mid-afternoon when the winds changed more northerly and when the Albatrosses
moved a bit closer to shore (including a few Black-browed only a hundred or so
metres from the shore which came to feed on cuttlefish/squid). Unfortunately,
most of the CBOC members had left then, but I was joined by Matt Hughes and his
son for the rest of the day. A Giant Petrel passed by briefly, but not close
enough to determine whether it was the Northern and Southern species.
Probably, one of the best
highlights was seeing at the same time 8 (eight) Brown Skuas by the side of two
small fishing boats a km from shore. I can?t recall seeing more than 3 at any
one time anywhere. Has anybody ever seen this much at the same time before?
Towards the last few hours before
dusk, several Yellow-nosed Albatrosses, a hundred or so of both Fluttering
Shearwaters and Australian Gannets began to appear but no Prions of any kind
whatsoever. Some of the Fluttering Shearwaters appeared to be hydroplaning (like
what prions often do) low over the water (such behavior I have not taken much
notice on previous occasions with these Shearwaters). Disappointingly again,
none of the great Albatrosses were seen. My big question is where are they?
Fairy Penguin (2-3 heard)
Black-browed Albatross (atleast
GREY-HEADED ALBATROSS (1
Yellow-nosed Albatross (10 plus,
all race bassi)
Giant Petrel unidentified (1)
Fluttering Shearwater (atleast
Australasian Gannet (100
Little Black Cormorant (1)
Great Cormorant (1)
Brown Skua (8 seen at the same
Kelp Gull (2-3 adults)
Silver Gull (numbers not
Crested Tern (20 plus)
Australian Kestrel (pair)
Black-shouldered Kite (1)
Horsfield?s Bronze-cuckoo (in the
Humpback Whale (2 plus)
Common Dolphin (1 plus)
P.S. I managed to catch sight of
a Collared Sparrowhawk flying over my work place today.