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.
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.
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
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.
Diving-Petrel: 1 inshore in the a.m. seen by only a few.
Petrel: c. 80 (40). Most were nominate race but >10 apparently
Petrel: 1 over 650+ fathoms.
PETREL: 1 at the seamount.
Fairy Prion: 3 (1).
2 offshore & 1 pelagic.
PETREL: 5 (2).
Shearwater: 16 (10). Initially all pelagic but 2+ followed halfway
Sooty Shearwater: 3
Shearwater: 200 (50). 250 inshore, 45 offshore & 5 pelagic.
Shearwater: 6 (2) inshore.
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.
N ROYAL ALBATROSS:
Albatross: 30. Melanophrys: 20 (15), 2 offshore. 15 sub-adults, 5
Impavida: 10. 7 sub-adults, 3 ads.
cauta: 45 (25). 1 offshore & 44 pelagic. 10 sub-adults, 35
Salvini: 1 sub-adult.
Albatross: 4 (3). 2 juvs & 2 adults.
Storm-Petrel: 3 (2). 1 offshore, 2 pelagic.
Storm-Petrel: 2 (1).
Storm-Petrel: 30 (19). 2 offshore, 28 pelagic.
Gannet: 71 (12). 30 inshore, 40 off & 1 ad. pelagic.
Arctic Jaeger: 2. 1
inshore & 1 pelagic.
Silver Gull: 1
Crested Tern: 28
(5), 17 inshore, 8 offshore & 3 pelagic.