Sea watch from Magic Pt (Maroubra) NSW 29 July 2002 (CBOC outing)

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Subject: Sea watch from Magic Pt (Maroubra) NSW 29 July 2002 (CBOC outing)
From: "Edwin Vella" <>
Date: Mon, 29 Jul 2002 18:04:18 +1000

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 100% certain).


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?



Birds recorded:


Fairy Penguin (2-3 heard)

Black-browed Albatross (atleast 50)


Yellow-nosed Albatross (10 plus, all race bassi)

Giant Petrel unidentified (1)

Fluttering Shearwater (atleast 100 plus)

Australasian Gannet (100 plus)

Little Black Cormorant (1)

Great Cormorant (1)

Brown Skua (8 seen at the same time)

Kelp Gull (2-3 adults)

Silver Gull (numbers not counted)

Crested Tern (20 plus)

Australian Kestrel (pair)

Black-shouldered Kite (1)

Horsfield?s Bronze-cuckoo (in the heath)


Mammals recorded:


Humpback Whale (2 plus)

Common Dolphin (1 plus)



Edwin Vella




P.S. I managed to catch sight of a Collared Sparrowhawk flying over my work place today.

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