Birds Australia Vic Group PELAGIC TRIP OFF PORTLAND, VIC, Sunday 11th
This was the monthly Birds Australia Vic group trip.
OBSERVERS: Rohan Clarke (organiser/report compiler), Dave Torr, John
McRae, Johnny Loy, John Ford, Ashley Carlson, Glen White, Iian Denham,
Kaspar Delhey and Trevor Hunt.
WEATHER: Windy! Gusting 20-30 kts in the AM decreasing to 5-10 knots in
the PM. Generally good visibility except on the way out when spray made
viewing difficult. Mild.
SEA: A 2-3 m steep southerly swell with occasional larger sets and a
~1-2 m sea. Uncomfortable in the AM with much spray and some big bumps
whilst underway. Around midday conditions moderated somewhat and the sea
state backed off considerably. With a following sea it was a fairly
comfortable ride on the return leg. At least five seasick including the
organiser (+ the deckhand!).
ACTIVITY: Sailed at 0735 EST. Headed directly to the shelf break but it
was a slow trip once past Laurence Rocks as we were punching into a
large messy swell. Good numbers of albatross in inshore waters that
persisted out to the shelf. Our first stop was at 38º40.53’S 141º24.52’E
over ~200 fathoms of water were we berleyed with shark liver and fish
discards. We drifted rapidly in over the shelf break during the session
so had to motor back out further along the shelf for a second berley
session. Heading back in at 1410. Passed Laurence Rocks at a distance
owing to the large breaking swell before docking at around 1630.
MAMMALS: Australian Fur Seals 1 in the harbour in the AM, another,
probable male, at the shelf.
BIRDS: 18 species beyond the breakwater (+ a few additional
albatross/petrel taxa and 2 further species in the harbour) indicated
below average diversity. Highlights were the Royal Albatross.
Great-winged Petrel: 18 (10). All pelagic. Mostly nominate ssp., 1 gouldi.
Cape Petrel: 30 (15). 4 offshore, remainder pelagic. All nominate ssp.
Fairy Prion: 100 (60). Most in offshore waters in the PM. Beyond the
shelf we attracted a maximum of 20.
Southern Giant-Petrel: 1. A juvenile at both berley points.
Northern Giant-Petrel 2. 1 juvenile and 1 immature. Pelagic at both
Wandering Albatross: 1 gibsoni-type at the second berley point.
Southern Royal Albatross: 5 (3). Multiple immature birds at both berley
points. On plumage at least 5 individuals – 3 followed us back in across
Northern Royal Albatross: 1 juvenile visited us at both berley points.
Black-browed Albatross: nominate ssp. 70 (20). 40 pelagic, 25 offshore,
15 inshore. Mostly adults but 1 immature inshore and another pelagic.
impavida, 2 (2). Both adults, both pelagic.
Shy Albatross all cauta/steadi: 100 (35). 5 inshore, 30 offshore,
remainder pelagic. 1 immature remainder adult.
Yellow-nosed Albatross: 2 both pelagic. 1 adult and 1 first year bird.
Grey-backed Storm-Petrel: 20 (12). All pelagic.
White-faced Storm-Petrel: 4(3). All pelagic.
Sooty Shearwater: 2 pelagic.
Hutton’s Shearwater: 7 (2). 2 pelagic, 5 offshore in the PM.
Fluttering Shearwater: 1 inshore in AM.
Black-faced Cormorant: 2 inshore in the AM and another inshore in the PM.
Australasian Gannet: 20 (10). 10 inshore, 7 offshore, 3 pelagic. All
adult. + 1000s on Laurence Rocks.
Southern Skua: 1 in the harbour in the AM.
Crested Tern: 35 (20). Mostly inshore but also 5 pelagic.
White-fronted Tern: 1 in the harbour in the AM.
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