Southport 17th March 2012

To: <>
Subject: Southport 17th March 2012
From: "Paul Walbridge" <>
Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2012 07:17:50 +1000
Hi All, here is the full report for Saturday's Southport pelagic.

Location: Southport, Queensland
Date: 17/3/2012
Vessel: 37 ft Steber monohull MV Grinner
Crew: Craig Newton
Pax: Paul Walbridge (organiser & leader), Glen Pacey, Brook Whylie, Rob
Morris, Brian Russell, Richard Noske, Brian Coates, Andy Jensen, Stuart
Pickering, Simon Buckell, Andrew Sutherland, John Reynolds, Michael
Mcnaughten, Claire Runge, Erik Forsythe

Weather conditions: A high near east of the Tasman formed a ridge over
the south Queensland coast, with another high moving into Queensland
strengthening this ridge. Light E-SE winds throughout the day barely
reaching over 10 knots. Light to moderate cloud cover for most of the
day, with a few rain squalls passing through out wide. Maximum air
temperature 29* C, barometer 1016 hPa.

Sea conditions: Calm seas on a light swell on leaving the Seaway, with
barely a white-cap on show all day and maximum swell to about 1.6
metres. Sea-surface temperature 25.3* C at the Seaway, rising to 27.1* C
at the Shelf-break and 27.5* C at the widest drift point. EAC running at
2.1 knots out wide.

Left the Seaway at 0605 hrs and headed for the Riviera grounds 28
nautical miles ENE of Southport. Crossed the Shelf-break at 0900 hrs,
reaching the first drift point at 0935 hrs some 26 nm ENE of Southport.
After a second and final drift headed for home at 1245 hrs, reaching the
Seaway at 1510 hrs, total duration of trip, 9 hrs 5 minutes.
On leaving the Seaway, we were confronted by a succession of returning
prawn trawlers, with varying numbers of accompanying birds of several
species, along with a few foraging Common Terns. As usual, the most
numerous species around the trawlers was Crested Tern followed by
Wedge-tailed Shearwater. Every trawler though seemed to have at least 2
Caspian Terns, up to 2 Arctic Jaegers and up to 5 Pomarine Jaegers.
After passing the 5th and final trawler we came across 4 Pomarine
Jaegers sitting on the water and approaching slowly allowed the
photographers on board to get some early morning shots.
Headed for the Shelf-break with little sighted on the way out save for
a lone Hutton*s Shearwater and the first Flesh-footed Shearwater of
the day attracted by the berley bag being towed behind the vessel. On
reaching the first drift point at 0935 hrs a Great-winged Petrel
(Grey-faced) turned up almost immediately, with plumage looking a lot
less tatty than the ones seen in the previous couple of months. It was
half an hour before the first Tahiti Petrel arrived from the north,
quickly followed by a group of three hurriedly heading for the slick.
For the next hour or so it was mainly Tahiti Petrels, Wedge-tailed
Shearwaters and just a couple of Flesh-footed Shearwaters joining in the
slick. However at 1025 hours the first returning Wilson*s Storm-Petrel
for the Autumn arrived at the stern and headed down the slick.
It was noted that there were a lot of birds feeding way down the slick
to the south, so we motored slowly down the slick and at 1115 hrs
started the second drift with the next new bird for the day in the form
of the first March Providence Petrel recorded from Southport, not really
surprising as they begin to turn up at their Lord Howe breeding sites in
February. Much the same as before over the next hour and a half with
more Tahiti Petrels, Wedge-tailed and Flesh-footed Shearwaters and a few
more Wilson*s Storm-Petrels arriving. Just before 1230 hrs two large
birds arrived and circled around for several minutes, immature
Red-footed Boobies and both with a degree of plumage wear. This species
has begun to put in an appearance south of its normal range over the
last few years. Shortly afterwards a couple of small tern like jaegers
drifted in to feed on the floating berley, Long-tailed Jaegers, one with
plumage almost there and the other a way to go for breeding plumage. 
It was time to head back and just after setting off we came across the
two Long-tailed Jaegers sitting on the water with a Wedge-tailed
Shearwater, slowly cruising up to the birds the camera shutters ran hot,
capturing images of these stunning Jaegers both on the water and in take
off mode. Nothing much of note recorded on the way back to the Seaway
with just a few Hutton*s and Wedge-Tailed Shearwaters sighted and some
Common Terns exiting the Seaway as we arrived back.
Wilson*s Storm-Petrel * 4 
Wedge-tailed Shearwater * 217 (100) 
Flesh-footed Shearwater * 5 (2)
Hutton*s Shearwater * 4 (3)
Tahiti Petrel * 12 (4)
Great-winged Petrel * 1 
Providence Petrel * 1 
Red-footed Booby * 2 
Little Black Cormorant * 1
Pied Cormorant * 1
Pomarine Jaeger * 17 (5)
Arctic Jaeger * 4 (2)
Long-tailed Jaeger * 2 
Caspian Tern * 7 (2)
Common Tern * 22 (14)
Crested Tern * 522 (200)
Silver Gull * 14 (12)

The next trip is on 21st April with a few spaces still available for
anyone interested. Contact Paul Walbridge on 
(PH) (H) 07 3256 4124 (W) 07 3139 4584 email:

Cheers - Paul W.

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