BA-VIC PELAGICS; Port Fairy Report for 15 January 2006

Subject: BA-VIC PELAGICS; Port Fairy Report for 15 January 2006
From: "Mike Carter" <>
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2006 13:15:40 +1100


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.


SEA:  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 home.


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 16.15.



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 capitals.


Little Penguin: 3 ashore on LJPI.


Great-winged Petrel: 30 (15). Most were race gouldi but also 1+ macroptera.

WHITE-HEADED PETREL: 8 (6) came to the berley at the stern.

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 tame.

Flesh-footed Shearwater: 60 (35). 3 offshore & 57 pelagic.

Sooty Shearwater: 3 (2).

Short-tailed Shearwater: >8,300 (5,000). >8,000 inshore, 300 offshore & 10 pelagic.

Fluttering Shearwater: 5 (3) inshore.

Wilson?s Storm-Petrel: 1.


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

stage 4.


Black-browed Albatross: 7 (5). Melanophrys: 5. 1 adult, 1 sub-ad. & 3 juvs.

 Impavida: 2, 1adult & 1 sub-adult.        

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 LJPI.

ARCTIC JAEGER: 1 inshore.


Silver Gull: 63. 60 on LJPI & 3 inshore in the morning.

Crested Tern: 65. 50 on LJPI, 6 inshore, 5 offshore & 4 pelagic.


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