From: "Mike Carter" <>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2005 17:35:30 -0800

SUMMARY: This mid-week trip was hastily organised in an attempt to re-locate the Atlantic Petrel seen on the scheduled regular pelagic on Sunday 6 February, four days previously. The quest failed but we too had a good trip with good diversity and abundance of seabirds. To give us more chance of finding the Atlantic Petrel we elected to spend longer beyond the shelf and omit the usual brief tour of Lady Julia Percy Island. Consequently we missed two species normally seen there, Black-faced Cormorant and Kelp Gull.

OBSERVERS: James Bailey, Chris Coleborn, Peter Crabtree, Giles Daubeney, Rob Farnes, Marlene Lyell, Paddy McGoldrick, Bill Ramsay, Adam Rigg, Andrew Silcocks, Simon Starr, Bill Watson & Mike Carter (organiser and leader).

WEATHER: A ridge was pushing in from the west so weather and sea conditions improved during the day. We went out into a 10-15 Kt SW wind that moderated to less than 10 Kts. Light and visibility was good. It was cool to cold. 75% cloud cover lifted before midday. Thereafter we enjoyed mainly full or filtered sunshine. 

SEA: Inshore initially it was rather lumpy with a slight to moderate sea on a low to medium swell (a 1.0 m sea on a 2.0 m swell). Offshore, seas rose to 1.5 m on a 3.0 m swell but calmed somewhat by mid-afternoon. So it was a bumpy ride out but pleasant returning with the sea on our stern. Two were sick and others were queasy.

ACTIVITY: Sailed from Port Fairy (38º23’18”S 142º14’30”E) at 07.05. We went out on our usual course of 205º at 13.3 Kts. Our journey to the shelf slope was interrupted by an unsuccessful attempt to track some Blue Whales seen spouting to our east but otherwise was fairly uneventful. At 10.00 we reached our first berley location at 262 fathoms at 39º49.2’S 141º53.5’E. Almost immediately our shark-liver and small fish berley started to attract a variety of birds. After 65 minutes we moved to the vicinity of a trawler at 38º51.0’S 141º50.4’E and berleyed there from 11.25 to 12.00. We then moved into deeper water (650+ fathoms) at 38º52.7’S 141º48.8’E, where the Atlantic Petrel had been seen. Albatrosses gathered in numbers at both these locations. At 12.50 a 20 minute journey took us to the seamount at 38º48.5’S 141º47.6’E and from there we headed directly for Port Fairy at 13.45. Docked at 16.20.


BLUE WHALE: No animals actually seen but by the number of towering blows, 3 inshore were moving eastwards at 08.45 at 38º36.3’S 142º06.7’E in 30 fathoms.

Common Dolphins: At least five encounters all in offshore or pelagic waters: 4 at 09.15 and then 30 at 09.30 in 70 fathoms; 2 in pelagic waters at 13.30 at seamount at 38º48.5’S 141º47.6’E; c.30 at about 14.15 and 8 at 15.00 while coming in. Australian Fur Seals: 3-4 singles.

BIRDS: 23 species (27 taxa) of seabird observed beyond the river mouth indicated above average diversity especially considering we did not visit Lady Julia Percy Island. Unless noted otherwise, those listed below were near or beyond the shelf break (i.e. pelagic). Highlights are in capitals.

Little Penguin: 7. 4 offshore & 3 inshore coming in.

Common Diving-Petrel: 1 inshore in the a.m. seen by only a few.

Great-winged Petrel: c. 80 (40). Most were nominate race but >10 apparently gouldi. 

White-headed Petrel: 1 over 650+ fathoms.

SOFT-PLUMAGED PETREL: 1 at the seamount.

Fairy Prion: 3 (1). 2 offshore & 1 pelagic.


Flesh-footed Shearwater: 16 (10). Initially all pelagic but 2+ followed halfway in.

Sooty Shearwater: 3 (2).

Short-tailed Shearwater: 200 (50). 250 inshore, 45 offshore & 5 pelagic.

Fluttering Shearwater: 6 (2) inshore.

WANDERING ALBATROSS: 20 (16). I believe this is the most ever seen on a Port

Fairy pelagic with up to 12 together immediately at our stern, some hand fed!

Exulans: 4. Plumage ‘stages’ 1 = juvs, 2; 2, 1; 3, 1.  

            Gibsoni: 16. Stages 3-4, 1; 4, 10; 5, 2; 6, 1; ? 2. Most apparently females.

3 were banded presumably on the Auckland Islands; (1) yellow on right, metal on left leg had blue dye on forehead, (2) red on R, metal on L, (3) metal on R.


Black-browed Albatross: 30. Melanophrys: 20 (15), 2 offshore. 15 sub-adults, 5 ads.

            Impavida: 10. 7 sub-adults, 3 ads.              

Shy Albatross cauta: 45 (25). 1 offshore & 44 pelagic. 10 sub-adults, 35 adults.

            Salvini: 1 sub-adult.

Yellow-nosed Albatross: 4 (3). 2 juvs & 2 adults.

Wilson’s Storm-Petrel: 3 (2). 1 offshore, 2 pelagic.

Grey-backed Storm-Petrel: 2 (1).

White-faced Storm-Petrel: 30 (19). 2 offshore, 28 pelagic.

Australasian Gannet: 71 (12). 30 inshore, 40 off & 1 ad. pelagic.

Arctic Jaeger: 2. 1 inshore & 1 pelagic.

Silver Gull: 1 inshore.

Crested Tern: 28 (5), 17 inshore, 8 offshore & 3 pelagic.

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

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