26th August, 2006 SOSSA PELAGIC TRIP, WOLLONGONG, NSW, AUSTRALIA.
Report prepared by: P.J. Milburn.
Departed: 07:25 returned at approx. 16:00.
Sea conditions: A slight chop inshore but short
period waves from the south southwest at 1.5 to
2.0m offshore by mid morning.
Swell: SSE to 1.5 to 2.0m.
Weather: Increasing cloud with heavy rain showers later in the day.
Temperature range: 13.5 to 21.3°C.
Barometric pressure: 1013 HPa increasing slowly.
Wind: SSW 8 to 10 knots at first increasing to 15
to 18 knots by late morning but easing to 5 to 8
knots SSE in the afternoon.
Sea surface temperature: 18.8 to 20.6°C.
Primary chumming location: S 34° 37' - E 151° 08'.
A weak anticyclone located over southeastern
Australia was approaching the NSW coastline, so
we left port in the tail of a southerly air
stream. The gathering low cloud and surface chop
combined to generate an unpleasant low angle
glare that lasted well into the morning. The
wind eased by late morning and the sun even shone
for a few minutes before the first of many
showers that persisted for the rest of the day.
Several Black-browed and Indic Yellow-nosed
Albatross were immediately offshore and
Australasian Gannets, Crested Terns and
Fluttering Shearwaters were searching for fish.
A little further to the east we encountered a
small group of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters that had
just returned for the upcoming breeding season.
Fluttering and Hutton's Shearwaters were foraging
in the area and a NORTHERN GIANT-PETREL passed
close by heading south but barely gave us a
As we reached the deeper water we began to feel
the effect of the wind against the current and
were forced to head in a more southerly direction
to make the ride more comfortable. A group of 6
White-fronted Terns followed us for a while but
eventually peeled off and continued on their way.
At the 75-fathom line, a variety of seabirds
approached us from the east and, as we edged ever
closer to the edge of the continental shelf,
activity increased noticeably. Gibson's,
Campbell, SHY and White-capped Albatross joined
the flock of over our wake and both Great-winged
and Cape Petrel were observed. An AUSTRALIAN SEA
LION provided a big surprise when it appeared
nearby and, raising itself out of the water, took
several long looks at us. The surprise being
that this was the first observation of this
species on a Wollongong Pelagic Trip.
As we approached the edge of the continental
shelf, conditions began to improve and at the
100-fathom line we began a drift-and-berley
session. A juvenile SOUTHERN GIANT-PETREL began
feeding at our stern and a few Campbell Albatross
were among the ever-increasing number of
Black-browed Albatross. The juvenile SHY
continued feeding with a group of newly arrived
White-capped Albatross and an Australian Fur Seal
even brought its own fish (a Blue Morwong) to the
party! The seal put on a great show for us with
its fish. Solander's Petrel were few in number
and another single nominate Great-winged Petrel
made a brief appearance before we set our course
With an impressive swarm of albatross in tow, the
trip back to port added Brown Skua, SALVIN'S and
ANTIPODEAN ALBATROSS to the day's species list.
Inshore, we encountered a lot of activity with
thousands of both Fluttering Shearwaters and
Silver Gulls in evidence and, additionally, a pod
of Short-beaked Common Dolphins that rode with us
for a while.
On a day of spectacular rainbows and huge black
cloud formations, marine mammals were prominent
and the return of the Wedge-tailed Shearwaters
heralded the new breeding season.
Birds recorded according to the latest
Environment Australia Reporting Schedule:
Species code: Species name: Numbers:
(Note: numbers in parenthesis = highest count at any one time)
929 SOUTHERN GIANT-PETREL Macronectes giganteus 1
937 NORTHERN GIANT-PETREL M. halli 2 (1)
080 Cape Petrel Daption capense australe 2 (2)
075 Great-winged Petrel Pterodroma m. macroptera 3 (2)
971 Solander's Petrel P. solandri 5 (3)
068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 3500+ (2500+)
913 Hutton's Shearwater P. huttoni 3 (1)
069 Wedge-tailed Shearwater P. pacificus 75 (35)
846 ANTIPODEAN ALBATROSS Diomedea antipodensis 1
847 Gibson's Albatross D. gibsoni 52 (34)
088 Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophrys 73 (34)
859 Campbell Albatross T. impavida 3 (2)
861 SHY ALBATROSS T. cauta 1
861 White-capped Albatross T. steadi 7 (5)
864 Indic Yellow-nosed Albatross T. carteri 100+ (55+)
104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 7 (3)
106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 6 (6)
980 Brown Skua Catharacta lonnbergi 1
981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 5 (4)
125 Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae 3100+ (3000+)
114 White-fronted Tern Sterna striata 10 (6)
115 Crested Tern S. bergii 11 (5)
In the harbour:
096 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 3 (2)
100 Little Pied Cormorant P. melanoleucos 1
101 Australian Darter Anhinga melanogaster 1
106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 6 (5)
115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 1
193 Striated Heron Ardeola striatus macrorhynchus 1
22 species of seabird identified outside the breakwater.
131 Sooty Oystercatcher Haematopus fuliginosus 1
Australian Fur Seal Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus 1
Australian Sea Lion Neophoca cinerea 1
Humpback Whale Megaptera novaeangliae 1
Short-beaked Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 12 (12)
For previous trip reports and selected images from this trip visit
All Pelagic Trips from NSW are operated at no
profit to the organizers, being operated as group
boat charters for the benefit of all who wish to
join us. If you would like to join one of these
trips please contact us as detailed below:
To make a booking on the SOSSA Wollongong Pelagic
Trips that departs on the 4th Saturday of each
SOSSA: Phone 02 4271 6004.
Carl Loves Phone: 0427 423 500
Pete Milburn: Mobile 0428 249 506, 02 6255 1313 (AH) or 02 6125 4173 (BH)
To make a booking for Sydney Pelagic Trip that
departs from Rose Bay public jetty on the 2nd
Saturday of each month contact
Tony Palliser Ph; 02-99001678 (w), 02-94115272 (h)
To make a booking for Eden Pelagic Trips, which
are run on the 5th Sunday of each month as it
Barbara Jones or Ph (02) 6495 7390
Note: SOSSA = Southern Oceans Seabird Study Association
Dr P.J. Milburn
ANU Biomolecular Resource Facility
John Curtin School of Medical Research
Australian National University
GPO Box 334
Canberra ACT 0200
'Phone +61 2 6125 4326
FAX +61 2 6125 9533
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