Eaglehawk Pelagic Trip Report 22/06/2013 (even later this time, sorry)

To: Birding-Aus <>
Subject: Eaglehawk Pelagic Trip Report 22/06/2013 (even later this time, sorry)
From: pbrooks <>
Date: Tue, 09 Jul 2013 11:16:54 +1000
Eaglehawk Pelagic Trip Report 22/06/2013
Participants: Ken Baker, Ruth Brozek, Karen Dick, Dan Giselsson, Rob Hamilton, 
Martin Havlicek, Brian Johnston, Jeremy O’Wheel, Els Wakefield Andrew Walter, 
John Weigel, and Paul Brooks (organiser and report compiler).
Conditions: The day was marvellous for a pleasant cruise on the high seas, 
which meant conditions for birding looked a bit ominous.  Winds speed was down 
around 5 knots, becoming calmer throughout the trip.  The swell was around 2 
metres with a very long period in the morning with virtually no sea; this swell 
dropped throughout the morning until it was nearly flat for the run back to 
port.  We had beautiful sunshine for much of the day.  Water temperature was 
13.9 C inshore, increasing to 14.5 C out wide, which is very high for the time 
of year.
Activity: Upon departing Pirates Bay at 0740 hrs (after waiting for one of our 
number to get a ride from the Lufra after misplacing his car keys), we headed 
to the Hippolytes to do the customary lap before heading east to the shelf.  
Not long after leaving the heads, Common Diving Petrels began to appear in good 
numbers.  Views were good, as the majority of the birds flew for extended 
periods without diving, probably due to the very flat conditions inshore.  The 
Hippolytes were fairly quiet, the highlight being the sight of a White-bellied 
Sea-eagle being harassed from its perch on the rock by the resident Peregrine.
We stopped to lay some berley just beyond the shelf in ~320 fathoms.  Things 
were fairly quiet, although we had fairly good numbers of Buller’s Albatross, 
as well as a dozen or so Fairy Prions, a handful of Cape Petrels a couple of 
Sooty Shearwaters (plus a Short-tailed Shearwater), a couple of Black-browed 
Albatrosses and a lone Great-winged Petrel.  Birds of note included two 
White-fronted Terns investigating the boat while on their way north.
In the calm conditions, it was decided to head out wider and, for the first 
time this year, the decision payed off.  Not long after we stopped in 600 
fathoms an immature Wandering-type Albatross did several laps of the boat 
before disappearing.  Soon after, a Soft-plumaged Petrel shot past from the 
north without stopping and this was followed almost immediately by a string of 
White-headed Petrels, a couple of which did a few laps of the boat.  On close 
inspection, some of these birds displayed dark partial collars and mantles but 
all were confirmed as WHPE.  During this period, an adult Northern Royal 
Albatross joined us and was often feeding quite close to the boat.  In its wake 
came three Southern Royal Albatrosses and these birds also fed close by the 
boat, allowing close comparison.  At this stop, we also recorded our only 
stormy species for the day, a single Grey-backed Storm Petrel.
Encouraged by our success at depth, we headed further south, ending up south of 
Tasman Island in over 620 fathoms for another berley run.  Many of the birds 
that joined us at the previous stopped followed us, including the Northern 
Royal, although the only new taxa we added was an adult Campbell Albatross.  
Conditions down here were pretty much flat with very little wind, although we 
still had a nice little entourage of birds with us.
On our way back to shore, we stopped at the shelf break in the midst of a 
super-pod of Common Dolphin.  No new species were added here, although a 
possible second Northern Royal did put in a brief appearance (it may have been 
the first one still following us).  We docked at around 1530hrs, happy with the 
range and numbers of species observed in the less than ideal conditions.  
Examination of Rob Hamilton’s photos after the trip revealed that, just after 
our second stop well out wide, we had missed a fly-by from a Flesh-footed 
Shearwater, a common species on the east coast of the mainland but rarely 
recorded from Eaglehawk Neck (although this is the second record this year).
Mammal Species:
Australian Fur Seal: c. 19 on the Hippolyte
Common Dolphin: a pod of many hundreds over the shelf east of Tasman Island
Bird Species (IOC v3.3) max. no at one time in brackets:
Little Penguin: 2 (2) Well offshore
Wandering-type Albatross: 1 (1) Immature, mostly brown plumage
Southern Royal Albatross: 3 (3) Maybe 4
Northern Royal Albatross: 1 (1) Maybe 2
Black-browed Albatross: 2 (1)
Campbell Albatross: 1 (1)
Shy Albatross: c. 50 (20)
Buller’s Albatross: c. 60 (24)
Southern Giant-petrel: 1 (1)
Northern Giant-petrel: 2 (1)
Giant-petrel sp.: 2 (1)
Cape Petrel: 8 (4)
Fairy Prion: 18 (11)
Great-winged Petrel: 3 (1) All macroptera
White-headed Petrel: 6+ (2)
Soft-plumaged Petrel: 1 (1)
Flesh-footed Shearwater: 1 (1)
Sooty Shearwater: 6 (3)
Short-tailed Shearwater: 2 (1)
Shearwater sp. (Short-tailed/Sooty): 2 (1)
Grey-backed Storm Petrel: 2 (1)
Common Diving Petrel: 86 (3)
White-faced Heron: 2 (1)
Black-faced Cormorant: 13 (9)
Australasian Gannet: 13 (2)
White-bellied Sea-eagle: 2 (1)
Peregrine Falcon: 1 (1)
Silver Gull: 2 (2)
Pacific Gull: 5 (3)
Kelp Gull: 14 (3)
Greater Crested Tern: 35 (8) Including many immatures
White-fronted Tern: 2 (1)

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