Eaglehawk Tasmania Australia Pelagic Sun 1 June 2003 Trip Report

Subject: Eaglehawk Tasmania Australia Pelagic Sun 1 June 2003 Trip Report
From: richard baxter <>
Date: Fri, 6 Jun 2003 19:40:52 -0700 (PDT)
Eaglehawk Pelagic Trip Report
Sunday 1 June 2003
Tasmania Australia
Conditions: Overcast all day.
Water Temp: 13.8degrees
Air Temp:10-15degrees
Swell: A 1-2m swell rolled through all day but was flattened by a strong N/W wind which had been blowing for 3-4 days previously.
We departed in light rain at 7.20am on board the Pauletta. After a few days of strong North Westerly winds the seas were pretty smooth.   The first pelagic birds encounted were OZ Gannets and several Yellow-nosed Albatross.  This continued for several kilometres until a lone Common Diving-petrel wizzed past the front of the boat.  Black-browed Albatross and Crested Tern added to the list as we headed directly east to the shelf and into deep water.
              As we arrrived at the shelf the first Shy Albatross showed, followed by a Salvin's and an adult Buller's flew past the back of the boat giving all on board good views.  We stayed at the shelf for 30min before heading into deeper water in search of more species.
             We eventually stopped at the 1400fathom mark and began to chum.  Within seconds of stopping we a had a White-headed Petrel fly into the boat and do a couple of quick laps before departing on what was a very stong wind.  Fairy Prion and Grey-backed Storm Petrels were now numerous on the slick and Black-browed Albatross and a lone Southern Giant Petrel paid brief visits to the boat.
               After about 1hr in 1400fathoms a magnificent Light-mantled Sooty Albatross flew to within 10m of the boat giving everyone on board awesome views.  Unfortunately it banked beside the boat and within seconds, with the strong wind at its back, it was out of sight. Cape Petrel numbers grew to around 50 birds and Short-tailed Sheawaters, Brown Skua, White-fronted Tern and a possible Sooty S/W circled the boat.
             Other birds seen at this location were Great-winged Petrel, Northern Giant Petrel and a lone Antarctic Prion.  Heading back to Eaglehawk we crossed the shelf and 10km offshore we came across a flock of 2-300 Common Diving-petrel.  Many were sitting on the water, feeding and comming very close to the boat.  For a while the boat was surrounded by Common Diving-petrels, flying into waves and diving underwater to escape the boat.
The following day (Mon) we set out again from Eaglehawk with a different group of people on another pelagic organised as a side trip for the Birds Australia AGM.  In contrast to Sundays trip, this trip can at best be described as a total disaster.  In an 8hr trip we stopped and chummed over the shelf for just over one hour. The only bird not seen the day before was Solander's Petrel (1).  The rest of the day was spend inside the shelf, mostly looking at seal colonies and rock formations.
Birds seen on Sunday 1 June 03.
85      Common Diving-petrel 2-300
929     Southern Giant Petrel  1
937     Northern Giant Petrel  1
984     Cape Petrel  50
75       Great-winged Petrel 1
77       White-headed Petrel 1
84       Antarctic Prion 1
83       Fairy Prion 200
71       Short-tailed Shearwater 4
88       Black-browed Albatross 2
931     Buller's Albatross 4
91       Shy Albatross  20
862     Salvin's Albatross 2
864     Yellow-nosed Albatross 20
93       Light-mantled Sooty Albatross 1
64      Grey-backed Storm Petrel 10
104     Australasian Gannet - 30
98      Black-faced Cormorant 50
980     Great Skua - 1
981     Kelp Gull - 30
126     Pacific Gull - 5
125    Silver Gull - 40
114    White-fronted Tern- 2
115    Crested Tern - 20
Richard Baxter

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