Yesterday's Southport pelagic trip was exquisitely painful for me
[although quite humourous to recount].
I had my digital camera primed with both batteries fully charged and
540 MB of memory available, but as the boat was pulling out from the
port, I discovered that I had left it at home. As Lano and Woodley
would put it, I had feeling, a bit of an inkling, that this was going
to be, one of those days.
I took a single kwells tablet on arrival at the wharf. While it was
insufficient to stop me being seasick on an unexceptional sea for 7.5
of the 9.5 hours we were out to sea [and about 9 cycles of stomach
clenching] it did make me drowsy for quite a few hours [a lose-lose
At the drift point, the birds were flocking so close to the boat that I
could have taken fifty good shots of the birds with my eyes closed. In
particular, the wandering albatross swam up so closely to the boat that
I could have almost photographed it on the macro setting - AND I DIDN'T
HAVE MY CAMERA.
Anyhow, I did get to see the black lace on its wing coverts and the
pink markings on its neck. For those of you who haven't seen a tross
on the water, it was a bit like a large-billed short-necked
slender-winged goose/swan. [It had a rather goose/swan like rear-end
and sat fairly high in the water] The way it related to the shearwater
hoi polloi during the shark-liver feeding frenzy was a bit like the way
a black swan deals with the coots on a duck pond. Like a swan, it was
also a bit on the slow side, so the shearwaters were able to grab bits
of food from under its bill.
While the tross in question was a bit on the hungry side, it turned its
beak up at the pilchards the shearwaters were gobbling down. Shark
liver was a different story - it probably wolfed down about a kilo of
shark liver and had a few bits of corn beef as a dessert.
From a twitching perspective, I did manage to identify a pale morph
kermadec petrel by virtue of its necklace [I was sitting upstairs on my
own at the time] and saw a single prion-sized flying fish.
Ah well, perhaps I will fare better next year.
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