BA-VIC Port Fairy Pelagic Trip 5 August 2004 Report

Subject: BA-VIC Port Fairy Pelagic Trip 5 August 2004 Report
From: "Mike Carter" <>
Date: Sun, 12 Sep 2004 12:22:53 -0700
BA-VIC Victorian Pelagics
OBSERVERS: Chris Lester (organiser), Rob Berry, Gail D'Alton, Tania Ireton,
Rosemary Lester, Grant Penrhyn, Frank Pierce, Charles Smith, David Stickney,
Nick Talbot, Geoff Walker, Glenn White & Mike Carter (leader).

WEATHER: An anticyclone was centred over SW Victoria, i.e. right over us!
Thus winds were light (max. 5-8 Kts) with a NE bias in the morning but swung
to the SE and freshened a little after 15.00. It was fine with cloudless
skies and excellent visibility but cold.

SEA: Slight (state 2) but smooth at times, on a 1.5 SW swell. Temperature
13ºC. So it was a very comfortable ride with little or no spray. No one was
even queasy!

ACTIVITY: Sailed from Port Fairy (38º23'18"S 142º14'30"E) at 07.03. We went
out on our usual course of 205º at 13.5 Kts. Enroute to the shelf there was
quite a bit of bird activity, particularly inshore where albatrosses had
been, or were, feeding on cuttlefish but virtually no small birds. The first
concentration of feeding seabirds, over 300, mainly large species
(albatrosses, Gannets and Giant Petrels) was at 38º43.3'S 141º57.2'E in 61
fathoms. From my position on the bow I diverted the boat to inspect the
flock. As I did so, a juvenile GREY-HEADED ALBATROSS flew towards us and
passed closely but continued away disappearing into the sun. We stopped and
berleyed but the birds showed no interest. The sounder indicated a dense
shoal of fish. Shy Albatrosses were just sitting on the sea occasionally
seizing a 12-18 cm fish from the surface with little effort. Some 20 Seals
were in the area as well as 1 Penguin and 3 Short-tailed Shearwaters. We
dallied there from 09.05 to 09.35. We crossed the shelf-break (100 fathoms)
at 09.50 and continued into deeper water to our usual first berley location
but as we spotted a trawler surrounded by hundreds of birds about 4 Nm away
approaching from the east we diverted to intercept it. We joined it at
38º50.8'S 141º55.98'E in 240 fathoms, stopped and berleyed with shark-liver
and fish scraps from 10.30 to 11.30. Then we again pursued the trawler on
its westerly course joining it again from 12.00 to 12.30 in 269 fathoms at
38º51.0'S 141º49.6'E. Before heading in we spent from 12.45 to 13.05
berleying in deeper water (313 fathoms) near a seamount at 38º49.7'S
141º45.7'E. We came in at 12.5 Kts via Lady Julia Percy Island (LJPI) where
we cruised slowly from 15.10 to 15.25. Docked at 16.35.

MAMMALS: Common Dolphins: 6 about 5 Nm south of LJPI. Australian Fur Seals:
>3,000 at LJPI and c.10 at sea within 10 km; 20 offshore (see above).

BIRDS: 24 species (26 taxa) of seabird, the main highlight being a very
obliging BLUE PETREL, observed beyond the river mouth indicated above
average diversity. Highlights are in capitals. Unless noted otherwise, those
listed below were near or beyond the shelf break (i.e. pelagic). Note the
total absence of Silver Gulls (this included LJPI).

Little Penguin: 5. 1 offshore & 4 on LJPI.

S. Giant Petrel:  5 (2). 1 offshore & 4 pelagic.

N. Giant Petrel:  8 (5). 1 inshore, 1 offshore & 7 pelagic.

Giant Petrel spp.: 4 (1). 3 inshore & 1 offshore.

Cape Petrel: 22 (12).

Great-winged Petrel: c.15 (4), all nominate race.

BLUE PETREL: 1. Photographed; excellent views.

Fairy Prion: 7 (2). 3 offshore & 4 pelagic.

Flesh-footed Shearwater: 1, an early date.

Short-tailed Shearwater: 3 (3) offshore. If returned migrants, an early

Fluttering Shearwater: 2 inshore.

HUTTON'S SHEARWATER: 2 + [4] offshore.

Wandering Albatross exulans: 1 large unusually plumaged bird being dark
bodied resembling transition between stage 2 & 3 but pale headed. From
photos, one consultant reckoned it was an adult female chionoptera.

ROYAL ALBATROSS SOUTHERN: 2 (2) adults, excellent close views.

ROYAL ALBATROSS NORTHERN: 2 (1) adults, excellent close views.

Black-browed Albatross melanophrys: 500 (260). 40 inshore, 60 off & 400
pelagic,  450 ads, 40 sub-ads, 10 juv.

Black-browed Albatross impavida: 3 (3) 2 ads, 1 sub-ads.

Shy Albatross cauta: 200 (120). 10 inshore, 130 off & 60 pelagic. 170
adults, 25 sub-adults, 5 juvs.

GREY-HEADED ALBATROSS: 1 juv. offshore.

Yellow-nosed Albatross: 13 (10). 2 inshore, 10 offshore, 1 pelagic, all


Australasian Gannet: c.320 (100). 200 inshore, 120 offshore, 1 pelagic.

Black-faced Cormorant: 1 inshore.

Great (Brown) Skua: 1 offshore.

Kelp Gull: 8 (4 pairs) adults on LJPI.

Crested Tern: 14 (4), 8 inshore, 4 offshore, 2 pelagic,

White-fronted Tern: 1 adult pelagic.

Mike Carter
30 Canadian Bay Road
Mt Eliza    VIC     3930
Ph:  (03) 9787 7136

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