Fluttering Shearwaters in huge numbers off Newcastle

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Fluttering Shearwaters in huge numbers off Newcastle
From: Mick Roderick <>
Date: Sun, 24 Aug 2008 05:22:29 -0700 (PDT)
G'day everyone,
This afternoon I decided that the only way to 'come down' from the fantastic 
seawatches off Maroubra over the past 2 days was to head out to my local patch 
- Nobby's Head, Newcastle. I was in for a treat.
What I saw was a humongous flock of Fluttering Shearwaters that stretched for 
well over 2km from about 500m off the entrance of the harbour south to Groper 
Rock (southern end of Nobby's Beach). To get an idea of how many birds were in 
the flock, check the photos on the following link (and use the "next" feature 
to scroll through the 4 images):
What can be seen in the aggregate of these 4 images represents about 20% of the 
total flock. I know the images aren't fantastic but if you enlarge them by 
clicking on the image you can get an appreciation of the numbers of birds 
(remembering each photo shows about 1/20th of the total flock). From making 
counts on-the-ground combined with counts off the various photos I took I am 
estimating that there must have been close to 10,000 birds. I'd be interested 
to hear people's opinions on this, given that the only references I can find to 
population size is "100,000 pairs" (Brooke and Cox) and "more than 100,000 
birds" (Birdlife International), who also state that flocks of greater than 
20,000 birds have been recorded. I'd be interested to hear if anyone else has 
seen such extensive flocks of Fluttering Shearwaters. Doubtless some birds were 
Hutton's, though I was only able to identify a single bird that I could 
confidently say was a Hutton's.
Also present were a few Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and 2 Black-browed Albatross. 
There were schools of (presumably) Australian Salmon feeding and breaking the 
surface in one area just off Big Ben Rocks and hawking around these were Silver 
Gulls, Crested Terns and a total of 28 White-fronted Terns (as well as a few 
Gannets). A pair of Gull-billed Terns were seen hawking over the sand dunes.
Great to see so much wildlife activity off our industrial port city. What a 
weekend for seawatching! Incidentally, the next organised Hunter Seawatch will 
take place next Sunday at 2pm, Fort Drive, Nobby's.
Mick Roderick

      Win a MacBook Air or iPod touch with Yahoo!7.

To unsubscribe from this mailing list,
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)
<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

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