The Bird Observation and Conservation Australia (BOCA) pelagic got out
off Eaglehawk Neck, SE Tasmania on the weekend. A fairly bumpy trip
but a nice selection of birds seen. The next scheduled trip is for
November 28th 2010. That trip is at present fully booked but contact
me if you wish to be on the waitlist.
BOCA PELAGIC TRIP OFF EAGLEHAWK NECK, TASMANIA
Sunday 19th September 2010
OBSERVERS: Marg Beames, Geoff Bromfield, Mike Bysouth, Jaimie
Cleeland, Victoria Dixon, Katherine Kristof, John McEvoy, George Olah,
Kate Stevens, Andrew Sutherland, Dejan Stojanovic, Bill Wakefield &
Rohan Clarke (organiser and report compiler).
WEATHER: Fairly heavy cloud cover through much of the day, clearing
occasionally for short breaks of sunlight. Cool but not particularly
cold. Blowing around 20 knots for most of the day from the south. The
wind swung round to the SW and increased to 30 knots around 2 pm by
which stage we were well on our way back.
SEA: The forecast was for a more windy day than we experienced but the
choppy and confused sea on a moderate swell was still larger than is
ideal. Our vessel the 'Pauletta' seems to handle these larger seas
well and the trip was neither too bumpy or wet. There was some spray
on the return leg but even this was intermittent. A 1.5 to 2.0 m swell
with occasional larger sets to 3 m at the shelf. Moderate chop (to 1.5
m, rarely 2 m) meant we did rock and roll at times, especially when
stationary. Two noticeably seasick, a few others showing some
ACTIVITY: Departed Pirates Bay Wharf at 0710. Headed to the shelf
break via the Hippolytes (a prominent rock stack). Surprisingly few
birds on the way out - even fewer when we reached the shelf. Crossed
the shelf break (100 fathoms) at 0855 before making our first stop at
43º08.39?S 148º12.57?E over 300 fathoms of water. Here we berleyed
with bread, chicken skin/fat, fish frames and tuna oil, and the birds
gradually built up. A second stop was made a few miles NW of this
point and then a final stop was made back on the shelf break at
43º00.48?S 148º15.42?E. Headed back in at 1240. As the return leg was
anticipated to be a slow ride into the oncoming swell and a stiffening
breeze our departure was about 1/2 an hour sooner than is usual.
Docked at 15:20.
MAMMALS: Australian Fur Seals perhaps 30 on the Hippolytes. Also 1 on
the boat ramp in Pirates Bay in both the AM and PM.
Common Dolphin: A single pod of ~20 in relatively shallow water a
couple of miles outside of Pirates Bay in the AM.
BIRDS: 22 seabird species (+2 additional albatross taxa) beyond the
point at Pirates Bay seems about typical for a Tasmanian pelagic.
Highlights were Northern and Southern Royal Albatross and good numbers
of Common Diving Petrels. Despite the 'big blow' over the previous
week that included prevailing winds from the S and SW none of the
hoped for cold water specialties put in an appearance.
Grey-backed Storm-Petrel: 5 (3). All pelagic.
Southern Royal Albatross: 3 (2) A nice count of Southern Royals
including a few close fly-bys. At least three different individuals on
plumage. All pelagic.
Northern Royal Albatross: 2 (1) A few visits at different berley
points in pelagic waters.
Black-browed Albatross: nominate race 2 (1) A low count of just two
adults beyond the shelf. (no impavida)
Shy Albatross: 200 (70). cauta/steadi 5 inshore, 13 offshore,
remainder pelagic. Just 2 imms, remainder adult. The dominant
albatross for the day.
Salvin's Albatross: 1 older immature (almost full adult) in pelagic waters
Yellow-nosed Albatross: 2 different adults in pelagic waters
Buller?s Albatross: A single adult in offshore waters.
Fairy Prion: 50 (20). All pelagic.
Short-tailed Shearwater: 1 at the shelf.
Sooty Shearwater: 2 (1). Both pelagic/at the shelf.
Northern Giant Petrel: 2. 1 juv, 1 older immature. Both pelagic.
Southern Giant Petrel: 1 immature pelagic.
Common Diving Petrel: 250 (10). 1 inshore, 55 offshore, remainder
pelagic. Singletons and groups of up to 5 passing through throughout
Great-winged Petrel: 8 (3). All nominate macroptera. All pelagic
Cape Petrel: 2 (1) at least one australe from NZ.
Little Penguin: 1 inshore in the AM.
Australasian Gannet: 15 (5). 5 pelagic, 2 offshore, 8 inshore.
Black-faced Cormorant: 7 inshore in the AM, 1 offshore in the PM and
~80 ashore on the Hippolytes.
Crested Tern: 10 (3). Mostly pelagic, but 1 offshore.
White-fronted Tern: 1 pelagic (distant)
Pacific Gull: 2 inshore in the AM.
Kelp Gull: 16 inshore in the AM, many (perhaps 50) around the
Hippolytes. Several ages classes (juv through to adult).
Silver Gull: 12 (10) All inshore and/or around the Hippolytes.
A single Swamp Harrier over the Hippolytes rounded out the list.
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