Note that attempts to run pelagics by us and other groups from PF on the
previous five Sundays were thwarted by bad weather!!!
SUMMARY: An enjoyable, comfortable trip. Prions were abundant and we had
more Sooty Albatrosses than ever before, 8 at one site with 7 on the water
together! Probably an Australian record. We had some coastal species rarely,
if ever, seen on our pelagics as well as some notable absentees, e.g.
OBSERVERS: Chris Lester (organiser), Rob Berry, Rod Bird, Rohan Clarke, Gail
D'Alton, Giles Daubeney, Ian Davies, Bob Edwards, Frank Pierce, Eric
Shackleton, Charles Smith, Mike Vanderzee & Mike Carter (leader).
WEATHER: A ridge of high-pressure extended from the Bight across Bass
Strait. So we had light and variable breezes to 5 Kts, predominantly from
the SE. The a.m. was overcast to 75% with thin patchy low cloud but the p.m.
was sunny. Light and visibility were good but it was cool.
SEA: Slight (< 0.5 m) at first, flat later on a low to moderate (1.5-2.5 m)
SW swell. So it was a pleasant ride with little spray. Two passengers were
ACTIVITY: Sailed from Port Fairy (38º23'18"S 142º14'30"E) at 07.03. We saw
the sunrise at 07.19. We went out on our usual course of 206º at 13.5 Kts.
Enroute to the shelf we paused occasionally to observe petrels and prions.
Going out, prions were abundant from about 9-22 Nm from PF, depth-range 27
to 65 fathoms. Likewise, they were even more numerous coming in on a
not-quite-parallel transect some 6 Nm further west over similar depths along
a distance of about 12 Nm. Judging by the number seen on our two transects,
there must have been tens of thousands in the area. We crossed the shelf
break at 09.30 (29.5 Nm from PF) and reached our first berley location at
09.35 at a depth of 263 fathoms at 38º49.4'S 141º53.6'E. Birds were scarce
but our shark-liver and small fish berley gradually attracted a variety of
birds. At 09.30 we headed SW into deeper water and then diverted to a small
group of feeding albatrosses. This contained 7 Sooty's, 2 Wanderers and an
8th Sooty flew in as we stopped! We stayed at this spot for 40 minutes
before heading into very deep water (c.700 fathoms) at 38º52.5'S 141º48.9'E,
and berleyed there from 11.40 to 12.15. From 12.35 to 13.00, we berleyed at
38º48.3'S 141º47.7'E adjacent to the shelf break. Enroute back to PF we
cruised the western and northern shores of Lady Julia Percy Island (LJPI).
Just off PF we encountered three areas where the sea seethed with bait-fish
and Gannets, cormorants, gulls and Crested Terns were attempting to feed.
Docked at 16.20.
Common Dolphins: A pod of 3 with another nearby were offshore as we came in.
Australian Fur Seals: >30, more than usual widespread at sea away from
LJPI, where there were thousands.
BIRDS: 27 species (28 taxa) of seabird observed beyond the river mouth. Even
allowing for the fact that several seen inshore were coastal species, which
ventured further to sea than normal in the calm conditions, this indicates
above average diversity. Unless noted otherwise, those listed below were
near or beyond the shelf break (i.e. pelagic). Highlights are in capitals.
Little Penguin: 3 inshore, 1 dead offshore & 3 ashore @ LJPI.
COMMON DIVING-PETREL: 6 (1). 4 offshore in p.m., 2 inshore in a.m.
S. Giant Petrel: 1 offshore.
N. Giant Petrel: 3 (1). 1 pelagic, 1 off & 1 inshore.
Great-winged Petrel: 25 (15), all nominate race.
ANTARCTIC PRION: 2 (1). 1 pelagic & 1 offshore in a.m. Good photos by RC.
SLENDER-BILLED PRION: 1 offshore in p.m.
Fairy Prion: >1,500 (200). 700 inshore, 800 offshore & 20 pelagic.
WHITE-CHINNED PETREL: 1 offshore.
Short-tailed Shearwater: 13 (2). 6 inshore, 6 offshore & 1 pelagic.
Fluttering Shearwater: 2 inshore + [2 offshore].
Wandering Albatross: 10 (6). All exulans. One of each stage 1 to 7 + 1 st. 2
& 2 st. 4.
Black-browed Albatross: 90 (60).
Melanophrys: 11 (3). 4 pel. & 7 offshore. 5 adults, 3 sub-adults & 3 juvs.
Impavida: 80 (60). All pelagic. 45 adults, 10 sub-ads. & 5 juvs.
Shy Albatross cauta: 11 (7). 1 inshore, 2 off & 8 pelagic. 2 sub-adults & 9
Yellow-nosed Albatross: 6 (2) 4 adults & 2 juvs. 1 inshore, 1 off & 4
SOOTY ALBATROSS: 10 (8). 8 adults, 1 sub-ad. & 1 juv.
Wilson's Storm-Petrel: 1.
Australasian Gannet: 50 (10). 35 inshore, 14 off & 1 (juv.) pelagic.
LITTLE PIED CORMORANT: 1 on LJPI, not usually seen here.
Black-faced Cormorant: 1 inshore.
Great Cormorant: 1 inshore.
Great (Brown) Skua: 1.
Pacific Gull: 1 inshore.
Kelp Gull: 13, incl. 2 juvs. on LJPI.
Silver Gull: 70, 30 on LJPI & 40 inshore but out to 12 Nm, unusually far.
Crested Tern: 50, 47 inshore & 3 pelagic. At dawn, heading out SW from
WHITE-FRONTED TERN: 2 adults pelagic.
30 Canadian Bay Road
Mt Eliza VIC 3930
Ph: (03) 9787 7136
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