SUMMARY: A tough, wet, but rewarding, trip.
The main highlights were a MOTTLED PETREL, not
less than 8 WHITE-HEADED PETRELS and a N. ROYAL ALBATROSS. Unfortunately, the Mottled Petrel
provided only brief distant views and most aboard missed it. This is the first
sighting of a live bird off Victoria, the few previous records being
beach-washed. Those with cameras will have a hard time deciding which
White-headed Petrel shots can be discarded.
OBSERVERS: Rob Berry, Rohan Clarke, Gail
D?Alton, Martin Dwelly, Tania Ireton, Rosemary Lester, Ila Mark, Eric Miller,
Grant Penrhyn, Frank Pierce, Charles Smith, Chris Lester (organiser) & Mike
Carter (leader & reporter).
WEATHER: A narrow (high-pressure) ridge
initially centred to our south over Tasmania drifted eastwards. Full but thin
overcast cleared gradually throughout the morning to a cloudless afternoon. The
light was always good with excellent visibility. It was rather cool. The wind,
ESE at 10-12 knots in the morning freshened to 20 Kts in the afternoon and
backed to the east.
Choppy, 1.0?1.5 m, rising to 2.0 as we came in from Lady Julia Percy
Island (LJPI) on a 3 m, occasionally 4 m, SW swell. So we took a beating
going out and on the leg in from LJPI. The three motoring transects were
affected by spray. Observation whilst stationary was comfortable. Three
participants were sick and most needed a dry change of clothes before driving
ACTIVITY: Sailed from Port Fairy (38º23?18?S
142º14?30?E) at 07.03 EDST. We went out on our usual course of 205º at
13.0 Kts, pausing only once (to lower the port spray curtain) before arriving at
our first berley stop at 09.35 in 240 fathoms @ 38º48.5?S 141º53.2?E. Birds were
quick to gather at our shark-liver and fish berley. At 10.35 we moved to deeper
water. On reaching the 700 fathom canyon at 38º52.4?S 141º48.9?E, we berleyed
from 11.05 to 12.00. Then from 12.20 to 13.00 we again berleyed, now at
38º48.6?S 141º49.8?E where the depth is 143 fathoms. Enroute back to PF, we
briefly cruised portions of the western and northern shores of LJPI. Docked at
Common Dolphin: One pod of c.10 around the
40 fathom depth at ~38º42?S 142º52?E.
Australian Fur Seals: Only 2-3 singles away
from LJPI where there were thousands.
BIRDS: 25 species (28 taxa) of seabird
observed beyond the river mouth indicated good diversity. Albatross numbers were
somewhat deficient. Unless noted otherwise, all listed below were near or beyond
the shelf break (i.e. pelagic). Highlights are in
Little Penguin: 3 ashore on
N. GIANT PETREL: 1
Great-winged Petrel: 30 (15). Most were race
gouldi but also 1+ macroptera.
WHITE-HEADED PETREL: 8 (6) came to the berley at the
MOTTLED PETREL: 1, distant brief passing views. First live
sighting off Victoria.
Fairy Prion: 30 (5). 20 inshore, 5 offshore
& 5 pelagic.
WHITE-CHINNED PETREL: 5 (3) very
Flesh-footed Shearwater: 60 (35). 3 offshore
& 57 pelagic.
Sooty Shearwater: 3
Short-tailed Shearwater: >8,300 (5,000).
>8,000 inshore, 300 offshore & 10 pelagic.
Fluttering Shearwater: 5 (3) inshore.
GREY-BACKED STORM-PETREL: 5
White-faced Storm-Petrel: 30 (15). 2
offshore, 28 pelagic.
Wandering Albatross: 7 (5). 6 exulans
stages 1(3), 3(1), 4(1) & 5(1), & 1 gibsoni
N. ROYAL ALBATROSS: 1.
Black-browed Albatross: 7 (5).
Melanophrys: 5. 1 adult, 1 sub-ad. & 3 juvs.
Impavida: 2, 1adult & 1
Shy Albatross cauta: 30 (10). 10
offshore & 20 pel. 1 sub-ad. & 29 adults.
Yellow-nosed Albatross: 5 (3). 1 adult, 1
sub-ad. & 3 juvs. 1 offshore & 4 pelagic.
Australasian Gannet: 30 (5). 10 inshore
& 20 offshore.
Black-faced Cormorant: 9 on
ARCTIC JAEGER: 1 inshore.
KELP GULL: 4 on LJPI.
Silver Gull: 63. 60 on LJPI & 3 inshore
in the morning.
Crested Tern: 65. 50 on LJPI, 6 inshore, 5
offshore & 4 pelagic.