PORT FAIRY (PF), VIC, PELAGIC
TRIP REPORT, 16 MARCH 2003
The good times had to
Berry, Harry Clarke, Gail D’Alton, Sean Dooley, Alistair & Heather Hunter,
Tania Ireton, Richard Loyn, Stuart Pell, Frank Pierce, Geoff Walker, Andrew
Wells & Mike Carter (leader).
anticyclone was ridging to western Bass Strait. Thin cloud cover at times but a
mostly clear sky. Bright, with excellent visibility. Mild. SE wind 5 to 10
knots, (less than forecast).
SEA: Slight on a SW
swell, low inshore, moderate (1.5 to 2.0 m) offshore. So a little sloppy at
times but mostly a comfortable ride. No-one sick.
ACTIVITY: Sailed at
07.15 (sunrise 07.30). Headed out on a COG of 204º at 13.5 Kts. Apart from
Crested Terns dispersing from their overnight roost to feed there wasn’t much
activity close inshore. About 28 km out, on the 32-fathom mark, this changed.
Here there were hundreds of Dolphins, a few seals, thousands of Short-tailed
Shearwaters, a few Gannets, Crested Terns, an occasional albatross and a
smattering of other birds. As we neared the shelf break an hour-and-ten minutes
later we started to encounter more White-faced Storm-Petrels. Pushing out into
pelagic waters to 250 fathoms there was scarcely a bird to see until our berley
slick, rich with shark liver, attracted birds from beyond our visibility.
We had crossed the shelf break
at 09.55 and remained in pelagic waters until 13.15. Here we made four berley
stops within a 10 km circular area centred on 38º48.8’S 141º53.4’E. Coming in,
we cruised off the western and northern shores of Lady Julia Percy Island (LJPI)
from 15.00 to 15.35, longer than usual searching without luck for a vagrant
moulting penguin. Docked at 16.40.
1,000’s of Australian Fur Seals at LJPI and perhaps 15 at sea, some with the
500 to 1,000 Dolphins, apparently mostly Common but some
species of seabird beyond the river mouth indicated exceptional diversity and
some, particularly Short-tailed Shearwaters, were abundant. Shy Albatross
numbers were down presumably because no trawlers were active in our area. The
best bird got away. It was a Pterodroma but in the light wind it was
flying low to the sea restricting our view of the underwing, possibly a
Soft-plumaged Petrel. The JAEGER’s were heading east apparently on passage.
Highlights are in capitals. Unless noted otherwise, those listed below were near
or beyond the shelf break (i.e. pelagic).
Penguin: 5. 2 inshore in a.m., 2 on
LJPI and 1 on sea adjacent.
Diving-Petrel: 2 singles inshore in a.m.
Petrel: 12 (6). 11 nominate race, 1 gouldi.
Fairy Prion: 4 (2).
Shearwater: 20 (10). 5 offshore.
Sooty Shearwater: 3
Shearwater: c. 10,000. <10 pelagic, 100’s offshore, mostly inshore.
Shearwater: 5 (4). I offshore, 4 inshore.
ALBATROSS: 7(4). 1 stage 5, 1 stage 4, 5 juvs. (= stage 1),
exulans. Two juvs. took shark liver from the
Albatross: nom. race, 30 (20). 5 off, 3 inshore. 5 ads, 25
impavida, 15 (10). 12 adults, 3 sub-ads.
cauta: 20 (10). 2 offshore, 6 inshore. 10 adults, 10
Albatross: 30 (15). 4 offshore, 6 inshore. 15 adults, 15
Storm-Petrel: 20 (7). 5 offshore, 2 inshore.
Gannet: c.140. 110 inshore, 26 offshore, 4 pelagic incl. 1
Cormorant: 4 ads. on LJPI.
GREAT SKUA: 1, an
unusually early date.
ARCTIC JAEGER: 10
(2). 4 inshore.
POMARINE JAEGER: 3
(2). 2 offshore.
Kelp Gull: 30 on
LJPI, 15 adults & 15 juveniles.
Silver Gull: 60 on
Crested Tern: 150
(120). 13 on LJPI, 130 inshore, 4 offshore & 3