BA Vicgroup Portland Pelagic 6 March 2011

To: "" <>
Subject: BA Vicgroup Portland Pelagic 6 March 2011
From: Rohan Clarke <>
Date: Tue, 08 Mar 2011 21:25:39 +1100
Hi All,

The Birds Australia VicGroup pelagic got out off Portland, Victoria on Sunday...a nice day at sea! If you would like to know more about these trips, details are on the BA VicGroup activities webpage: (scroll down to the bottom).

Sunday 6th March 2011

OBSERVERS: Chris Lester (organiser), Rosemary Lester, Dave Torr, Mike Honeyman, Brian Johnston, Glenn White, Grace Lewis, Iain Denham, Derek Russell, Danny Sullivan, Paul Southerland & Rohan Clarke (report compiler).

WEATHER: Clear skies throughout the day meant bright, well lit conditions. Owing to a north-easterly wind, and the sunshine, it was rather warm throughout the day. A 10 knot wind in the morning moderating to less than 5 knots and variable wind around 1 pm meant conditions were pleasant (and far better than forecast). We enjoyed a reasonable ride with only occasional slop from waves striking the side of the vessel.

SEA: A 1-2 m swell abating to 1 m in the PM. The small chop (< 1 m) in the AM also moderated to < 0.5 m and meant the ride was generally smooth whilst underway. One seasick.

ACTIVITY: Sailed at 0710. Headed directly to the shelf break and an area known as ‘The Horseshoe’. Reasonable numbers of birds on the way out with concentrations of albatross in the 30 to 40 fathom mark and then again just prior to the shelf. Crossed the shelf break (100 fathoms) at 0923 before making our first stop at 38º42.55’S 141º20.96’E over 140 fathoms of water were we berleyed with shark liver and pilchards. During the session we drifted further out to finish over 250 fathoms of water. Two further stops were made at 38º44.97’S 141º26.20’E (140-200 fathoms) and 38º41.68’S 141º26.22’E (100 fathoms) before heading back in at 1455. Quite a few plumes of krill were seen in inshore waters, 2-5 mile off Lawrence Rocks. We cruised the shores of Lawrence Rocks (LR) between 1655 and 1710 before docking at 1730.

MAMMALS: Australian Fur Seals ~30 at LR. Also 1 at sea in inshore waters in the AM and 1 in offshore waters in the PM.

Common Dolphin: A pod of about 8 adults over 30 fathoms of water in the PM just a short distance from the Blue Whales. Initially they approached the boat but then showed only passing interest.

BLUE WHALE: 2 adults together in 30 fathoms of water in the PM. When first observed these animals were lunge feeding. Much krill was in evidence as we passed this area. A third individual was sighted about half a mile further east. A couple of photos here: (first 2 images)

BIRDS: 23 species (25 taxa) of seabird plus 1 passerine beyond the breakwater indicated poor to average diversity. Highlights were the good numbers of albatross including numerous Buller’s Albatross in pelagic waters.

Wilson’s Storm-Petrel: 8 (2). All pelagic.

Grey-backed Storm-Petrel: 10 (4). All pelagic. Some individuals displaying extensive primary moult.

White-faced Storm-Petrel: 16 (4). 4 offshore, remainder pelagic.

Black-browed Albatross: nominate race 45 (15). 3 inshore, 12 offshore, remainder pelagic. 7 immature, 2 juvenile remainder adult.
impavida 25 (12). All pelagic. Mostly adults, though at least 3 immature.

Shy Albatross: cauta 300 (170). 6 inshore, 10 offshore, remainder pelagic. 20 imms remainder adult.
salvini: A single adult at the third berley stop.

Yellow-nosed Albatross: 6 (3). 1 offshore remainder pelagic. All adult.

BULLER'S ALBATROSS: 15 (6). All pelagic. All adult. Many birds put on a nice show, especially as they followed us back in. A few photos are here: (first 5 images)

Fairy Prion: 5 (2). 1 inshore in the AM, remainder pelagic.

Short-tailed Shearwater: 35 (10). Mostly inshore, 10 offshore, 3 pelagic.

Sooty Shearwater: 6 (2). All pelagic. Good views right in at the back of the boat.

Hutton’s Shearwater: 4 (2). 2 inshore, 1 pelagic at the first berley point.

Fluttering Shearwater: 35 (10) mostly inshore, 2 offshore.

White-chinned Petrel: 15 (8). All pelagic though a 4 birds followed us back in to about 80 fathoms. 1 immature with dusky edges and ridge to bill plates (Black Petrel-like), remainder adult.

Great-winged Petrel: 20 (8). All gouldii. All pelagic except a couple of birds that followed us back in to 80 fathoms.

'Cookalaria' species: a very distant small petrel with white ventral surfaces got away from us. Views and photos suggest it was a Gould's/Cook's type.

Common Diving Petrel: 2 (2). 2 inshore in the PM.

Little Penguin: 4 (4). A small group was seen between the harbour and LR in the AM.

Australasian Gannet: 55 (20). 20 pelagic, 15 offshore, 20 inshore . Also 000’s at LR and lesser numbers on and over the mainland colony at Pt Danger. At sea 1 immature, remainder adult.

Black-faced Cormorant: 4 inshore in the AM, 80 ashore on LR.

Pomarine Jaeger: 1 dark bird at moderate distance at the first berley point. Unfortunately it showed only passing interest in the boat.

Crested Tern: 32 (10). Mostly inshore, but 2 offshore. 500 ashore on LR in the PM.

Pacific Gull: 1 adult on LR in the PM.

Kelp Gull: 3 on LR in the PM.

Silver Gull: 25 inshore and 100 at LR.

Forest Raven: one flying over the sea between LR and Point Danger in the AM.

On LR Sooty Oystercatcher (1) rounded out the list.

Rohan Clarke

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