Port Fairy Pelagic Report, BELBOCA Trip, 29 January 2006

Subject: Port Fairy Pelagic Report, BELBOCA Trip, 29 January 2006
From: "Mike Carter" <>
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 18:21:53 +1100

SUMMARY: Whilst there was enough of interest for the inexperienced, for the three regular sea-birders aboard, an ordinary trip suddenly became extraordinary when shortly before we had to head in, we saw the first STREAKED SHEARWATER to occur off southern Australia west of Bass Strait. This is only the fourth Victorian report. And soon after that having started in, a SOFT-PLUMAGED PETREL circled our boat. Otherwise abundance was low & diversity only fair.


OBSERVERS: Peter Bright (organiser), Bretan Clifford, Rob Cowdell, Magda Dodd, Don & Rhonda Jennings, Peter Lansley, Rod Long, Tim Mintern, Frank Pierce, Pamela Rae, Glen White and Mike Carter (leader & reporter).


WEATHER: A weak, slow-moving trough spanned Bass Strait whilst a weak cold front was approaching from the west. It was a mild and humid day, overcast with low and misty cloud. No rain at sea but constant light rain ashore. The light was fair to good but at times, visibility was limited to ~5 km. The wind, SSW @ 5 Kts at first backed to SE and rose to 10-12 knots as we went out and continued at that strength and direction for the remainder of the day.


SEA: Initially flat on a low SW swell inshore but both sea and swell rose to 1 m out-wide with the swell continuing to build to 2 m. Both sea & swell decreased as we came in but it was still choppy on a 1 m swell, therefore some spray, as we came in from Lady Julia Percy Island (LJPI). So a very good start, a little rocky beyond the shelf but not too unpleasant at any stage. One person sick briefly.


ACTIVITY: Sailed from Port Fairy (38º23?18?S 142º14?30?E) at 07.05 EDST. We went out on our usual course of 206º at 13.0 Kts, pausing only once for a Fluttering Shearwater on the sea. Arrived at our first berley stop at 09.40 in 256 fathoms @ 38º49.0?S 141º53.3?E. Birds were slow to gather over our shark-liver and fish berley slick so at 10.20 we moved to deeper water. On reaching the 700 fathom canyon at 38º52.4?S 141º48.1?E, we berleyed from 10.45 to 11.25. The scarcity of birds here prompted another move so we headed out SW and investigated another deep ?hole? at 38º51.3?S 141º45.25?E between 11.40 and 12.25. Then we headed in but laid another slick at 38º48.3?S 141º45.2?E where the depth is 218 fathoms from 12.40 to 13.00. This was the most productive drift. Enroute back to PF, we briefly cruised portions of the western and northern shores of LJPI. Docked at 16.30.



SPERM WHALE: 1 briefly in deep water at 38º51.3?S 141º45.25?E.

Common Dolphin: One pod of c.50 beyond the shelf at 38º49?S 141º53.3?E.

Australian Fur Seals: >15 singles away from LJPI where there were thousands.


BIRDS: 23 species (24 taxa) of seabird observed beyond the river mouth indicated good diversity. Albatross numbers were disappointing. Unless noted otherwise, all listed below were near or beyond the shelf break (i.e. pelagic). Highlights are in capitals.


Little Penguin: 7 inshore where flat conditions enabled detection & 2 ashore on LJPI.

Great-winged Petrel: 20 (10), all were race gouldi; 2 followed us in almost to LJPI. 

SOFT-PLUMAGED PETREL: 1 circled the boat.

Fairy Prion: 14 (3); 10 offshore & 4 pelagic.

WHITE-CHINNED PETREL: 2 (2) very tame.

STREAKED SHEARWATER: 1. Came into the boat but didn?t settle or feed. Photos.

Flesh-footed Shearwater: 90 (50); 2 inshore, 8 off- (others followed us in) & 80 pel.

Sooty Shearwater: 2 (1).

Short-tailed Shearwater: >1,000 (300), >250 inshore, 700 offshore & 50 pelagic.

Fluttering Shearwater: 11 (3), 3 inshore & 8 offshore.

HUTTON?S SHEARWATER: 2 (1), 1 inshore & 1 offshore.


White-faced Storm-Petrel: 9 (3), all pelagic.

Wandering Albatross: 3 (3), all exulans, stages 1(2) & 5 (1, banded on right leg).

Black-browed Albatross: 4 (3). Melanophrys: 2; 1 adult & 1 sub-ad. Impavida: 1

adult; all pelagic. 1 sub-ad of unknown race offshore.        

Shy Albatross cauta: 30 (15). 2 inshore, 2 off & 26 pel. 25 adults, 4 sub-ad. & 1 juv.

Yellow-nosed Albatross: 6 (3). 2 adults, 2 sub-ads. & 3 juvs. 3 offshore & 3 pelagic.

Australasian Gannet: 100 (15). 40 inshore, 45 offshore & 15 (ads.) pelagic.

Black-faced Cormorant: 1 on sea near, & 18 on, LJPI.


Silver Gull: 20 on LJPI.

Crested Tern: 60. 50 on LJPI, 7 inshore & 3 pelagic.

COMMON TERN: 1 inshore.


Mike Carter
30 Canadian Bay Road
Mt Eliza    VIC     3930
Ph:  (03) 9787 7136
<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • Port Fairy Pelagic Report, BELBOCA Trip, 29 January 2006, Mike Carter <=

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU