Albany Pelagic Trip Report - Sat 4th May 2013

To: "" <>, Birding-Aus <>
Subject: Albany Pelagic Trip Report - Sat 4th May 2013
From: John Graff <>
Date: Sun, 12 May 2013 08:53:14 +0800
Hi all, Below is the text of the trip report for the Saturday Albany Pelagic. A 
version with accompanying photos can be seen at
 An excellent trip, highlighted by 3 South Polar Skuas, a breeding-plumaged 
Arctic Tern, and a Long-tailed Jaeger (1st for WA pelagics). Cheers,John 
Participants: Alan Collins (Organiser), John Graff (Organiser), Sue Abbotts, 
Xenia Dennett, Stewart Ford, Peter Huggins, Darryl Jones, John Lillywhite, Dan 
Mantle, Michael Morcombe, Simon Nevill, Glen Pacey, Jon Pridham, Ray Turnbull, 
John Weigel Conditions: Seas were forecast to 1m, with swell 1.5-2.5m, and 
light SE’ly winds. Conditions were reasonably close to the forecast though it 
was a little rougher in the morning, even within King George Sound, flattening 
through the day. Report
This was an excellent trip - 11 tubenose species were seen, but it was the 
skuas and terns that provided the major highlights with three South Polar 
Skuas, a breeding plumaged Arctic Tern, and at least one Long-tailed Jaeger 
seen.  We left Emu Point a little after 0700 and were surprised to immediately 
pick up our first true seabird – a Flesh-footed Shearwater flying around the 
boat harbour. As we crossed King George Sound we picked many more Flesh-footed 
Shearwaters, along with the usual Australasian Gannets. A few people also saw a 
single Brown Skua. We passed through the heads, but the first albatross took a 
while to appear, the first being a Shy Albatross seen briefly in the wake, 
heading east. This was followed by the first Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross, and 
several adult Black-browed Albatross began following the boat, while 
Flesh-footed Shearwaters were ever present. As we approached the shelf, the 
first Wilson’s & White-faced Storm-Petrels were also seen.  We stopped the boat 
in about 600m of water at the continental shelf edge and started to chum. We 
were immediately joined by several adult Black-browed Albatross and the usual 
Flesh-footed Shearwaters. Wilson’s Storm-Petrel started gathering to feed in 
the slick, and the first confirmed Great-winged Petrel made a pass. The odd 
White-faced Storm-Petrel could be seen with the Wilson’s in the slick, and an 
immature Shy Albatross made an appearance. The first excitement came when a 
skua flew over the boat. It hung around for a while, but stayed frustratingly 
away from the boat. Nonetheless, the general opinion was that it was a South 
Polar Skua, which has since been confirmed from photos. The skipper alerted us 
that we had drifted into shallower water, so we moved deeper again, stopping 
the boat when another skua made an appearance. This bird was darker than the 
first, but still another South Polar Skua. Unfortunately it did not hang 
around. The number of Black-browed Albatross around the boat grew to 7, mostly 
adults, while the odd Shy Albatross was also seen along with the usual Indian 
Yellow-nosed Albatrosses. One of the Shy Albatross was an adult with enough 
yellow in the bill to confirm it was a Tasmanian bird. Then the shout went out 
for a Wandering Albatross, which came in from the port side and crossed the bow 
but did not hang around. Identification of this complex is always tricky but 
the general consensus was that Gibson’s Albatross was the most likely 
candidate. A Northern Giant-Petrel also made a pass but did not stay, and the 
first Soft-plumaged Petrel was also seen.  We repositioned for a final time, 
heading out to 800m of water. The birds here were similar until a tern was 
called off the stern. Fortunately, it made several close passes over the boat, 
allowing identification as an Arctic Tern in full breeding plumage. Another 
South Polar Skua (the palest individual yet) also made a few circuits, and a 
jaeger flew in from the port side. After some debate, the consensus was that it 
was a Long-tailed Jaeger, a first for WA pelagic trips. Presumable the same 
bird reappeared on the ocean not long afterwards. Then an intermediate morph 
Soft-plumaged Petrel appeared in the slick. Black-browed Albatross remained 
around the boat, but were joined by an adult Campbell Albatross to round out a 
successful trip. The return trip was relatively smooth and uneventful, the only 
sightings of note were more Black-browed Albatross just outside the heads, and 
a Brown Skua in the same area. We docked at approximately 1630. As always, many 
thanks to all the participants, and to Tony and Fred from Spinners Charters. 
Species List [Total Count (Maximum no. seen at one time)]
Wandering Albatross [prob. Gibson's] 1 (1)
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross 20 (8) 
Black-browed Albatross 14 (7)
Campbell Albatross 1 (1)
Shy Albatross 4 (1)
Northern Giant-Petrel 1 (1)
Great-winged Petrel 12 (6)
Soft-plumaged Petrel 2 (1) - 1 intermediate morph
Flesh-footed Shearwater 500 (100)
Wilson's Storm-Petrel 120 (25)
White-faced Storm-Petrel 12 (1)
Brown Skua 2 (1)
Long-tailed Jaeger 3 (1)
Arctic Tern 1 (1) - breeding plumage
Australasian Gannet 18 (3) 

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