Sydney Pelagic Report - November 10, 2007

To: "birding-aus " <>
Subject: Sydney Pelagic Report - November 10, 2007
From: "Roger McGovern" <>
Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2007 11:01:31 +1100


November 10, 2007



A cool early summer's day with a light to moderate easterly wind which had
been in that quarter for several days. It was quite chilly especially in the
first couple of hours, with people adding layers of clothing as we headed
offshore, but we managed to avoid the several rain shower areas that were
all around us at times.

Water temperature inshore was about 18.7degC and this increased a little to
19.3degC out on the shelf break

Departed from Rose Bay at 07.00hrs and returned at 15.15hrs

The seas were quite choppy with a 1.0 metre wave on top of a 1.5 metre
easterly swell which made the journey out to the shelf a little

The wind was a 10-15 knot easterly which tended to increase later in the day

With the somewhat uncomfortable conditions prevailing on the way out, there
were a small number of people who succumbed to sea-sickness 


Trip Summary

This was another great pelagic birding day (aren't they all?) with bright
conditions and the easterly winds and cool seawater temperatures promising
some good sightings.

We departed Rose Bay with the 20 passengers on board hailing from Sydney,
interstate and various places around the world. As soon as we passed through
Sydney Heads, a couple of Humpbacks were seen blowing and we spent some time
trying to locate them. However, as often is the case on their southerly
migration, these whales sounded for a long period of time and we were unable
to find them again. There were good numbers of birds present in the inshore
zone with Wedge-tailed Shearwaters planing along the wave troughs and
surprisingly large numbers of Short-tailed Shearwaters on their southerly
migration - it seems quite late in the spring to see so many of these
migrants. There were plenty of Fluttering Shearwaters showing well and, as
we motored a little further out, we began to see more Hutton's Shearwaters
amongst them. A close fly-by juvenile Black-browed Albatross was the first
albatross of the day, and the first albatross ever for some of the observers
on board, and this was followed shortly afterwards by a giant-petrel seen
floating on the water which closer inspection revealed to be a Southern
Giant-Petrel. A juvenile Wandering Albatross (taxa gibsoni) flew past
causing great interest on board, there were a couple of Pomarine Jaegers and
a single Arctic Jaeger, and then we were off into the Abysmal Plain with
just the occasional parties of Short-tailed Shearwaters to entertain us as
we headed out to Brown's Mountain and the shelf break. At about 18NM
offshore, we encountered a pod of perhaps 50 Bottlenose Dolphins which came
and rode our bow wave for a while before returning to their fishing

As we approached Brown's Mountain, we began to see reasonable numbers of
birds which included Cape Petrel, Black-browed Albatross, Providence Petrel,
Great-winged Petrel and Flesh-footed Shearwater and things were looking very
promising for our first berleying session. Indeed, as soon as we established
a slick, all of the species just mentioned were around the boat in addition
to some very obliging Wilson's Storm-Petrels and a lovely old Wandering
Albatross of the nominate taxa exulans. Shortly thereafter, a 'cookalaria'
petrel was picked up at some distance behind the boat which showed itself to
be a GOULD'S PETREL but unfortunately it was seen only by David James and

Surprisingly, after about 30 minutes of action around the Halicat, all the
birds except for the Wilson's Storm-Petrels left the slick and disappeared -
we could only assume that the birds had been feeding well and were not
hungry. We motored out into deeper water further east of Brown's Mountain
without adding further species to the list except for a very late adult
Yellow-nosed Albatross for which there have been very few records off NSW in
November. As we headed back to Sydney, we came upon a pod of Oceanic Common
Dolphins and we arrived back in the harbour well pleased with a count of 20
species for the day



Bird List

(Note that numbers in parenthesises represent the maximum numbers seen at
any one time) 


Southern Giant-Petrel                      1        (1)

Cape Petrel                                      4        (2)

Great-winged Petrel                        7        (1) 

Providence Petrel                             9        (2) 

GOULD'S PETREL                       1        (1)                         

Wedge-tailed Shearwater                90      (6) 

Short-tailed Shearwater                   700    (60)

Flesh-footed Shearwater                 10      (2)           

Fluttering Shearwater                      50      (6)

Hutton's Shearwater                        20      (2)

Wandering Albatross                       6        (2)             one
exulans and five gibsoni       

Black-browed Albatross                  8        (1)               

Yellow-nosed Albatross                  1        (1)

Shy Albatross                                  3        (1)

Wilson's Storm-Petrel                      6        (3)

Australasian Gannet                        6        (2)

Pomarine Jaeger                               5        (1)

Arctic Jaeger                                    1        (1)              

Silver Gull                                        200    (150)

Crested Tern                                    8        (4)




Humpback Whales                           2

Bottlenose Dolphins                        50

Oceanic common dolphins              20



Next Sydney pelagic trip will be on Saturday 8th December, 2007 departing
Mosman Ferry Wharf at 0645 and Rose Bay Public Wharf at 0700. Call Hal on
0411 311 236 to make a reservation



Roger McGovern 




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