27th August, 2006 SOSSA PELAGIC TRIP, WOLLONGONG, NSW, AUSTRALIA.
Report prepared by: P.J. Milburn.
Departed: 07:10 returned at approx. 16:30.
Sea conditions: Calm at first and northeast to 0.5m later.
Swell: SE to 1.0m.
Weather: Bright sunshine for most of the day with
some high cloud later in the day.
Temperature range: 16.1 to 24.7°C.
Barometric pressure: 1014 HPa increasing.
Wind: NNW to 5 knots at first increasing to 5 to 8 knots NE in the afternoon.
Sea surface temperature: 19.0 to 20.6°C.
Primary chumming location: S 34° 26' - E 151° 20'.
A weak anticyclone was located over southeastern
Australia and at dawn a gentle northerly air
stream had smoothed the ocean into a glassy
state. We left port in bright sunshine and calm
seas revealed a Little Penguin shortly
afterwards, much to the delight of our
international participants. A few Black-browed
and Indic Yellow-nosed Albatross were gliding
over the gentle swells and Hutton's and
Fluttering Shearwaters were in equal numbers in
contrast to the previous day's excursion.
Obviously a large number of fish were present and
both Inshore Bottle-nosed and Short-beaked Common
Dolphins were hunting around us.
Apart from a Brown Skua and a couple of
White-fronted Terns, the cruise to the edge of
the continental shelf was fairly quiet. As on
the previous day, marine mammals were conspicuous
with both Oceanic Bottle-nosed and Short-beaked
Common Dolphins putting on entertaining displays
as we cruised eastwards.
Once over the continental slope, Gibson's and
White-capped Albatross homed in on us and
proceeded to follow us closely. We began a
drift-and-berley session at the 300-fathom line
and attracted several Solander's Petrels, a lone
Cape Petrel and a lot more albatross. The first
Common Terns of the spring season were observed
as they joined the feeding flock, as did several
more White-fronted Terns. Several juvenile
Campbell Albatross were among the ever-increasing
number of Black-browed Albatross and, an hour or
so later, we began our journey back to port with
an impressive following of albatross.
As we headed for home, a single Humpback Whale
broke the surface just ahead of our bow at the
70-fathom line and enforced a halt in our
progress. We waited for what seemed an eternity
to ensure that it was safe to proceed when the
exhilarating sound of a whale blowing alongside
our port beam elicited a cacophony of expletives!
Clearly it was not the moment to resume our
course back to Wollongong. The animal was in a
playful mood, proceeding to circle us and in an
amazing moment of connection it spy hopped no
more than 5 metres behind the transom.
A first year SHY ALBATROSS was a late addition to
the species list for the day and in a moment of
rare comparison a first year White-capped
Albatross accompanied it. We were treated to
further sightings of breaching Humpback Whales as
we approached the harbour, including one with a
hang time to compete with Michael Jordan!
On a day of spectacular rainbows and huge black cloud formations,
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)
005 Little Penguin Eudyptula minor 1
080 Cape Petrel Daption capense australe 1
971 Solander's Petrel Pterodroma solandri 4 (3)
068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 300+ (250+)
913 Hutton's Shearwater P. huttoni 300+ (250+)
069 Wedge-tailed Shearwater P. pacificus 50+ (35+)
846 ANTIPODEAN ALBATROSS Diomedea antipodensis 2 (2)
847 Gibson's Albatross D. gibsoni 30+ (25)
088 Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophrys 65+ (35+)
859 Campbell Albatross T. impavida 3 (2)
861 SHY ALBATROSS T. cauta 1
861 White-capped Albatross T. steadi 2 (1)
864 Indic Yellow-nosed Albatross T. carteri 65+ (35+)
104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 16 (3)
106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 1
980 Brown Skua Catharacta lonnbergi 2 (1)
981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 3 (3)
125 Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae 245+ (120+)
114 White-fronted Tern Sterna striata 4 (2)
115 Crested Tern S. bergii 14 (8)
953 Common Tern S. hirundo 6 (2)
In the harbour:
097 Little Black Cormorant Phalacrocorax sulcirostris 1
101 Australian Darter Anhinga melanogaster 1
106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 7 (7)
21 species of seabird identified outside the breakwater.
Humpback Whale Megaptera novaeangliae 3 (2)
Inshore Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops aduncus 2 ( 2)
Oceanic Bottlenose Dolphin T. truncatus 25 (25)
Short-beaked Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 18 (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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