Sydney Pelagic Trip Report - Saturday 13 October 2012

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Sydney Pelagic Trip Report - Saturday 13 October 2012
From: David James <>
Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2012 04:34:02 -0700 (PDT)
Following strong westerly winds and lashing rains in Sydney, and a massive 
snow-storm in the Blue Mountains the day before, we decided to head out a 
little later than usual, leaving Rose Bay at 9:15 (not 7:00) to avoid the worst 
of the wind and seas. The Halicat was full to the brim with 42 passengers and 4 
crew. The berley trail struggled to pick up a following of birds initially and 
when we stopped for some cavorting Humpbacks Whales only 5 miles SE of Sydney 
Heads there were only half a dozen Black Browed Tross and a few Wedge-tailed 
Shearwaters in attendance. As we continued out the albatross numbers steadily 
rose to about 40, mostly Black-browed, with a single Wanderer and a few 
Shy/White-capped. Plankton patches (mostly krill but also ctenophores and 
whatever else) were frequent. We made a single berley stop close to Browns 
Mountain (34 deg 01 min S, 151 deg 39 min E) where we stayed for 1.5 hrs. This 
produced 17 seabird species including about 150
 albatrosses of 6 taxa in 3 species groups, 3 species of Pterodroma petrels, 
some charismatic Cape Petrels, 2 storm-petrel species and 2 shearwater species. 
The highlight was a single Cook’s Petrel that appeared 3 times over an hour and 
approached to within 40 m, cutting back and forth along the beam repeatedly on 
each occasion, to provide great views of a species that is rarely seen close 
and well. In the end we saw 20 to 25 seabird species (depending on how you like 
to divide your albatrosses) and 3 cetacean species. 
The water temperatures registered between 16-17 deg C but were probably a 
little higher. The winds were 10-20 knots W; swell 2-3 m S; seas 2-3 m, W-SW. 
The Halicat handled the sloppy conditions very well and provided a remarkably 
stable and almost dry platform, except for those riding the bow as we chased 
(The larger the number, the more approximate it is; + indicates a high count)
Wandering Albatross (gibsoni)                                       6
Wandering Albatross (antipodensis type)                       1
Black-browed Albatross (melanophris)                          150
Black-browed (Campbell) Albatross (impavida), adult  7+
Shy Albatross (cauta)                                                      10
Shy (White-capped) Albatross (steadi), all juveniles      7+ 
Northern Giant Petrel, juvenile                                       1 
Cape Petrel                                                                     
Fairy Prion                                                                     
Great-winged Petrel (macroptera)                                  20
Providence Petrel                                                            40
COOKS PETREL                                                            1+
Sooty Shearwater                                                            10
Short-tailed Shearwater                                                   400
Wedge-tailed Shearwater                                                 150
Flesh-footed Shearwater                                                  1
Fluttering Shearwater                                                      3
Wilson’s Storm-Petrel                                                     5+
White-faced Storm-Petrel                                                5+
Australasian Gannet                                                        2
Brown Skua                                                                     1
Pomarine Jaeger                                                              1
Silver Gull (inshore)                                                        50
Crested Tern                                                                    
‘comic’ tern (White-fronted type)                                   1
Humpback Whale                                    25
Short-beaked Common Dolphin             10
Oceanic Bottlenose Dolphin                    50
(Southern) Ocean Sunfish                       3
The next Sydney pelagic trip will be on Saturday 10 November departing from 
Mosman Bay at 6.45 am and Rose Bay at 7.00 am. Book now to avoid dipping by 
calling Hal on 0411 311 236 or visiting
Happy seabirding
David James, 


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