Sydney Pelagic Report - October 11, 2009

To: "birding-aus " <>
Subject: Sydney Pelagic Report - October 11, 2009
From: "Roger McGovern" <>
Date: Thu, 15 Oct 2009 09:41:14 +1100
Last Saturday's Sydney pelagic trip had to be postponed due to high winds
and high seas, and it went out on Sunday instead. I couldn't make this
revised date due to prior commitments but I thought it was worth posting
Hal's account of the day as they had an exciting time with Orcas chasing
Humpback Whales (and they saw some excellent birds). Note that, in the
species list, Hal has transposed the normal 'total number' and 'most at one
time' figures.


Roger McGovern



After many stormy days ,the seas having reached a peak of 15 metres off
Sydney on Friday, the pelagic trip was postponed to Sunday in the hope of
better weather and smoother seas.


This change paid off with little or no wind for most of the day and seas
with a rolling swell from the south east.

Just a few small showers of rain to keep things cool


The sea water temperature inshore remained at the low 17 deg mark rising
slowy as we headed towards the shelf break

here  a tongue of warmer water up to 19.5 deg C was encountered over a small
area of a few miles.


Highlights of the close offshore section were bottlenose dolphins at the

then humpback whale sightings unfortunately with large downtimes and not
wothwhile following.

The wedgetail shearwaters were present in reasonable numbers from about one
mile offshore

mixed up with smaller numbers of huttons& flutterers.The birds seemed well
fed evidenced by those sitting on the water having difficulty in taking off.

Proceeding to sea the flocks of short tails were ever increasing

Two fur seals were found resting side by side about 5 miles out .Then a


>From about the 12 mile to 20 mile mark activity was at a minimum with
sightings of an odd albatross along the way


At Mt Woolnough( Browns Mountain) the local sea mount  there were a few
boats fishing with a sole giant petrel on the water behind one of them. A
few providence petrels could be seen wheeling about.


A burley trail was set up with a few birds coming in but then a wind shift
had us drifting in the opposite direction .This didn't help in getting the
birds to settle.


A move back to the top of the mountain and a second burley trail did the
trick and soon a number of wandering albatross settled .

In the end there were 14 around the boat with one particularly aggressive
larger younger bird.


Bird sightings of the day were a Buller's Albatross & a White Headed Petrel 


A short trip to the North East of the mount did not turn up anything in the
way of birds until suddenly we had the white headed following

for a short period


We also found mixed pods of oceanic & risso dolphins.


The return journey all  was quiet and at the 12 mile offshore mark we
started to search for whales again.

Some were seen breaching to the north and it was during our search for these
whales that we suddenly encountered 

Orcas which as it turned out were harassing two humpbacks- one large and one
not so large but far from juvenile


We were an enthralled audience for about an hour after which it seemed the
whales had made their escape.


It appears as a sequel that the Orcas actually did bite off the dorsal fin
of a humpback (could have been another outside of the ones we were watching
as there were others in the area) - shown on Ch 7 news clip Sunday evening


I trust this was a memorable day for all. 

Remember that this is only the 2nd time in 15 years of doing these trips
that we have sighted orcas


with regards        Hal Epstein




PS  view Paul Byrnes trip photo album on  link




Silver Gulls


Wedgetail shearwaters    many  (10)  200 +

Fluttering Shearwaters    2  (20)

Huttons Shearwaters       2  (20)

Fleshyfoot Shearwater    1

Short Tail                       migration flocks 100 + (  MANY)


Arctic Jaeger  2 ( very distant)


Giant Petrel  Southern  1(1)


Crested Tern                2(8)


Australasian Gannet      5(20)


Providence Petrel        3( 20)

White Headed Petrel  1  (1)

White Faced Storm Petrel  1 (1)

Wilsons Storm Petrel    2 (3)


Great Wing Petrel         1(1)


Cape Petrel                  2(8)




Wandering                   4(14)

Shy                              1(6)

Black Brow                    2(10)

Yellow Nose                   1(1)

Bullers                          1(1)





Humpback Whale  8


Oceanic Bottlenose Dolphin   30 +

Risso Dolphin   30+


Orcas   Killer Whales     3




Australian fur seal       2




Sunfish    1

__________ Information from ESET Smart Security, version of virus signature
database 4505 (20091014) __________

The message was checked by ESET Smart Security.


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>
  • Sydney Pelagic Report - October 11, 2009, Roger McGovern <=

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