Cookilaria Triple Treat.

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Cookilaria Triple Treat.
From: "Paul Walbridge" <>
Date: Sat, 22 Nov 2003 08:36:28 +1000
Hi Birding-aussers, here is the report for the November 15th pelagic from Southport, Queensland.
Vessel: 53ft monohull 'Flying Fish II.
Crew: 2
Pax: 16 (including 9 from the UK).
Weather conditions:
A High to the east of NSW produced E-NE winds onto the south Queensland coast, to 10 knots early increasing to 15 knots later. Little cloud with visibility excellent, max. temperature 27C, Barometric pressure 1020 hPa.
Sea conditions:
Light seas early, on up to 1.5 metre swell with seas increasing to 1 metre later on. Sea surface temperature not taken ( forgot to bring the little glass/spirit thingy along).
Left the Seaway at approx. 0720 hrs and made good time over the Shelf as very little to see apart from a few Wedge-tailed, Flesh-footed and Short-tailed Shearwaters. On crossing the Shelf Break at 0930 hrs things started to hot-up with the first 'cookilaria' a Black-winged Petrel crossing astern. Just moments later a Mottled Petrel passed close in front of the bows, with the first Gould's Petrel circling the vessel about 20 minutes later.
We reached the 'drift point' at 1020 hrs approx. 55 kilometres ESE of Southport & proceeded to 'chum' with a variety of species arriving immediately, mostly Flesh-footed Shearwaters but interspersed with Tahiti Petrels, Black-bellied & Wilson's Stormies and Wedge-tailed Shearwaters. I'd just mentioned to Chris Barnes, that with all these Flesh-footed Shearwaters present and being November, conditions looked ideal for a certain species to turn up and it did. A larger, heavier, darker bird in the form of a Black Petrel. This bird stayed around for the remainder of the drift and excellent photos were obtained, both in flight and on the water.
We continued to drift for another couple of hours with more Gould's Petrels, Tahiti Petrels & Black-bellied Storm Petrels turning up before heading for home at 1245 hrs. Arrived back at the Seaway at 1530 hrs with small parties of Short- tailed Shearwaters heading south the only sightings of note on the journey back in.
Not great numbers present but an interesting 'mix' and all up a very pleasant day out in the 'Blue Paddock' and no-one disappointed. The Poms in particular were happy - that should be somewhat dulled tonight, hopefully - go you WALLABIES!! The full list below;
Tahiti Petrel - 10
Mottled Petrel - 1
Black-winged Petrel - 1
Gould's Petrel - 4
Black Petrel - 1
Wedge-tailed Shearwater - 61
Flesh-footed Shearwater - 70
Short-tailed Shearwater - 67
Wilson's Storm Petrel - 6
Black-bellied Storm Petrel - 3
Crested Tern - 5
Sooty Tern - 6
Our last trip of the year is on December 20th with several spaces still avilable for those interested. Cheers - Paul W.
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