Port Stephens pelagic trip report Sat 19th March 2011

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Port Stephens pelagic trip report Sat 19th March 2011
From: Mick Roderick <>
Date: Mon, 21 Mar 2011 00:25:04 -0700 (PDT)
Port Stephens Pelagic Trip Report – Sat 19th March 2011
Boat: M.V.Argonaut, skippered by Ray Horsefield
Graeme O’Connor, Nick Livanos, Michael Kearns, Greg Little, Dan Mantle, Glenn 
Hoye, Alan and Shirley Macaskill, Darryl Eggins, Jim Smart, Lorna Mee, Ann 
Lindsey, Steve Roderick and Mick Roderick (leader and organiser). 

A comfortable day with moderate swell coming from the south with south-west 
winds initially that swung around to the south-east mid-morning. These winds 
were really only felt en-route to the shelf. Once at the shelf there was little 
wind to talk of and the seas were very slight. Water temperature was about 23 
degrees at the shelf. 

17 species recorded outside of the heads, with a couple of Sooty Terns 
qualifying as the most unusual birds of the day. Long-tailed Jaegers were in 
good attendance with up to 7 birds seen, including some immaculate adults with 
full streamers (which unfortunately did not come in to the boat). A slightly 
unseasonal Shy Albatross was also seen.
DepartedNelson Bay Public Wharfat 0700, returning at 1650.
As is customary the day started with Wedge-tailed Shearwaters coming to 
investigate the boat about 3 miles from the heads. These were soon joined by 
Flesh-footed and the occasional Short-tailed fly-by. Birds were very attendant 
to the boat and seemed fairly hungry. A rolling groundswell and steady sou-west 
to sou-east winds made for a comfortable trip out and when Dan Mantle got onto 
Sooty Terns about half way out, we thought we may have been in for another day 
with a ‘tropical feel’. The excitement grew when a group of 3 Long-tailed 
Jaegers came towards the boat just short of the shelf.
Once at the shelf however, the wind had dropped to virtually a slight breeze 
the sea surface was smooth. Many of the birds that had followed us out then 
chose to sit on the water and things moved along pretty slowly from there. We 
set up a drift at 32 55 27 / 152 34 25 and within about 15 minutes we had our 
first Great-winged Petrel. Wilson’s Storm-petrels then started to appear in the 
slick and this peaked at about a dozen birds. These birds were grilled in light 
of recent Wilson-like birds off Tassie and given the fact that it was nearly 12 
months to the day when we had our streaky Kiwi friend visit us we made sure all 
Stormies were checked carefully.
A few more Long-tailed Jaegers came and went as did a few Sooty Shearwaters and 
a lovely fresh Solander’s Petrel came in for a few passes. We left 32 57 54 / 
152 33 00 at about 1315 and to our surprise picked up a beautiful adult Shy 
Albatross about half an hour into our return leg. This was the first Albatross 
for a visiting Scottish couple and it capped off a pleasant but fairly quiet 
March pelagic.
Mick Roderick
Species: Total (maximum number around the boat at one time)
Wilson’s Storm-petrel: 25 (12)
Shy Albatross: 1
Fluttering Shearwater: 3 (1)
Fluttering-type Shearwater: 2 (1)
Wedge-tailed Shearwater: 300 (100)
Flesh-footed Shearwater: 80 (35)
Short-tailed Shearwater: 30 (10)
Sooty Shearwater: 4 (1)
Great-winged (Grey-faced) Petrel: 3 (1)
Solander’s (Providence) Petrel: 1
Crested Tern: 3 (2)
Pomarine Jaeger: 30 (10) 
Arctic Jaeger: 2 (1)
Long-tailed Jaeger: 7 (3)
Silver Gull: 6 (4)
White-bellied Sea-Eagle: 1 (off Tomaree)
Pan-tropical Spotted Dolphin: 50 (approx 10 at shelf, 40 in loose pods on way 
back in)


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