Hi Birding-aussers, here is the report for
saturdays' 19th April pelagic from Southport.
Vessel: 53ft monohull Flying Fish
Pax: 17 (5 new).
Weather: A stationary High over
Tasmania combined with a Low over the Tasman to 'squeeze up' a strong SE flow
onto the east coast. Moderate to fresh SE winds to 20 knots early, increasing to
25-30 knots at widest drift point. From early afternoon several squally rain
fronts passed through with the wind at times gusting to 35 knots. Visibility
good until turning for home, due to constant spray and squally
conditions. Barometric pressure 1024hPa & rising, maximum air temp.
Seas: On leaving the Seaway 1.5
metre seas on 2 metre swell rising to at the widest point up to 2.5 metre seas
on up to 4 metre swell. Seas easing slightly on the way back, when getting
closer to land. Water temp. not taken.
By Friday evening no Strong Wind Warning was
current so the charter operator left the call to me (none of their boats had
gone out on that day). On leaving the Seaway conditions started to deteriorate
so it was decided to head ENE to make things more comfortable, thereby
maximising achievable distance from shore.
It wasn't until we had reached the widest drift
point, approx. 63 kilometres ENE of the Seaway that we fully appreciated the
conditions we were in. The vessel was quite stable generally but the occasional
call of "watch this one" saw most of us rushing back to cover as a wall of water
came rushing at us side-on, soaking the unfortunates not watching or
Because of the conditions the birds found it easier
to sight the 'berley' close to the vessel and great views were had of Providence
Petrels, Tahiti Petrels & Wilson's Stormies down to less than 5 metres at
times. Other highlights were of brief, but good views of a Kermadec Petrel (seen
by only a few) and of 5 White Terns together, low over the water due to the
conditions. Although generally, most birds
were nice & close, I doubt whether many photos were taken due to the
constant spray and movement.
Turning back for home saw the cessation of all
recording and observing, with everyone jockeying for the dryest, most
comfortable position. Most of the journey back was at a crawling 6 knots and on
arriving back, under cover of darkness the radio crackled "Strong Wind Warning
issued for blah, blah, blah". (yeah, right, guess who gave 'em that
Despite the conditions, these converted Western
Australian cray boats handle these conditions with aplomb and at no point were
we in any danger, only 3 people were sick (none of the 1st timers).
Tahiti Petrel - 29 (7)
Providence Petrel - 28 (7)
Kermadec Petrel - 1
Wedge-tailed Shearwater - 92 (30)
Flesh-footed Shearwater - 9 (2)
Hutton's Shearwater - 2
Fluttering/Hutton's Shearwater - 5
Wilson's Storm Petrel - 33 (10)
Australasian Gannet - 1
Arctic Jaeger - 1
Crested Tern - 6
White Tern - 6 (5)
Next trip is saturday May 17th, hope to meet some
of you out there. Cheers - Paul Walbridge.
Contact: PH. (H) 61 7 3391 8839 (W) 61 7 3350