Port Stephens Pelagic Trip Report - Sun 19th September 2010

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Port Stephens Pelagic Trip Report - Sun 19th September 2010
From: Mick Roderick <>
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 2010 05:37:26 -0700 (PDT)
Port Stephens Pelagic Trip Report - Sun 19th September 2010
Boat: M.V.Argonaut, skippered by Ray Horsefield
Michael Kearns, Dan Williams , Jim Smart, Ann Lindsey, Dick Jenkin, Nick 
Livanos, Liz Livanos, Allan Richardson , Mike Newman, Dan Allen, Alan Stuart, 
Greg Little, Steve Roderick and Mick Roderick (leader and organiser). 

With the low that had caused giant swells in the Tasman moving eastwards, 
boating conditions were ideal as the swell eased and winds dropped to virtually 
nil. It was a very comfortable day at sea (perhaps too comfortable?), with a 
moderate swell averaging probably just over 2m rolling along all day. Winds 
slight to negligible, initially gently from the sou-west and then turning 
sou-east later in the day. 

There were no real highlights but it was good to have a reasonable number of 
attentive Albatross sitting on the water next to the boat for the entirety of 
our time at the shelf. A single Flesh-footed Shearwater was the first for the 

DepartedNelson Bay Public Wharfat 0700, returning at 1715.
It was a very uneventful journey to the shelf, with few birds seen apart from 
groups of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters that showed no interest in the boat at all, 
along with an unidentified Giant-Petrel that showed the same level of interest 
as the Shearwaters. A single Brown Skua was flushed off the surface about half 
way out. A couple of Yellow-nosed and Black-browed Albatross joined us not far 
from the shelf, followed by a brief visit from a Shy.
Once over the shelf we set up a drift at 32 55 11 / 152 34 32 but things moved 
pretty slowly for our time out there, including the boat which was pushed 
north by the slight breeze. A brief visit by the only Great-winged Petrel for 
the day was made just after cutting the motors - views were too brief to assign 
which subsp. We were soon also joined by an adult Wandering Albatross (probably 
a Gibson’s) and the occasional Solander's Petrel and White-faced Storm-petrel. 
The call of “Giant Petrel” went out again and we were soon enough able to 
confirm it as a Northern. This bird circled the boat for a good 15 minutes 
before disappearing. 

Several pods of Humpback Whales moving south passed us, including one of around 
10 individuals. Numerous were seen breaching over the course of the day. Two 
observations of an Ocean Sunfish were also made near the shelf. 

A couple more Wanderers flew in, both younger birds, and at one stage we had 
about 30 Albatross sitting on the water beside the, mostly Yellow-nosed. About 
the same number of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters were also in attendance. Just 
firing up the motors to come home a couple of km's north of our starting point 
at 32 54 24 / 152 35 28, the only Cape Petrel of the day arrived.
It was a reasonably dull trip back to port, aside from some Storm-petrels that 
were mostly confirmed to be White-faced, but among which 2 observers on board 
claimed to have seen a single Fregetta-type. A lone Prion also gave a rapid 
of the boat, leaving us uncertain of its identity. A bit more excitement was 
about 3 miles from the heads when a large inshore feeding flock of Wedge-tailed 
Shearwaters was noticed. Soon enough we had a single Flesh-footed show interest 
in the boat, the first of these for the season off Port Stephens. A few 
Shearwaters also made fly-bys through the throng of Wedgies. 

Mick Roderick
Species: Total (maximum number around the boat at one time)
White-faced Storm-petrel: 15 (7)
Storm-petrel sp. (Fregetta sp.): 1
Prion sp.: 1
Yellow-nosed Albatross: 40 (25)
Black-browed Albatross: 10 (3) all immature
Shy Albatross: 2 (1) both cauta / steadi
Wandering Albatross: 3 (3) – one possible gibsoni
Northern Giant-Petrel: 1
Giant-Petrel sp.: 1
Fluttering Shearwater: 1
Hutton’s Shearwater: 5 (3)
Fluttering-type Shearwater: 15 (3)
Wedge-tailed Shearwater: 500 (250)
Flesh-footed Shearwater: 1
CapePetrel: 1 (nominate)
Solander's (Providence) Petrel: 3 (1)
Great-winged Petrel: 1
Little Penguin: 1
Australasian Gannet: 50 (10)
Crested Tern: 5 (2)
Brown Skua: 1
Silver Gull: 5 (3)
Inshore Bottlenose Dolphin: One pod seen, numbers not known. 
Humpback Whale: ~30 (10)
Australian Fur Seal: 1 (at the shelf)
Ocean Sunfish: 2 (1)

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>
  • Port Stephens Pelagic Trip Report - Sun 19th September 2010, Mick Roderick <=

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