Eaglehawk Neck Pelagic 12th October 2013

Subject: Eaglehawk Neck Pelagic 12th October 2013
From: Robert Hamilton <>
Date: Tue, 15 Oct 2013 21:24:28 +1100
Eaglehawk Pelagic Trip Report 12/10/2013


Participants: Mona Loofs-Samorzewski, Dan Giselsson, Ruth Brozek,

De Stojanovic, Rob Leslie (South Africa), Chris Darby (UK), Rob Hamilton (trip 
compiler). Paul Brooks, the trip organizer, was a last minute withdrawal.

The trip was on the Pauletta, skippered by John Males with deckhand Adam.


Conditions: There was some speculation as to whether the trip would go ahead 
because of the forecast strong wind. John was still in two minds on the morning 
but decided to go ahead with the provision to return early if conditions 
dictated such a move.

The BOM records for the nearby Tasman Island showed northwesterly wind 
throughout the day, 25 knots per hour gusting to 35 knots at our 7am start. At 
midday wind speed was 38 knots gusting to 46 knots and by return to Pirates Bay 
at 3pm was 32 knots gusting to 42 knots. There was constant surface chop, 
whitecaps and spray, with wave and swell from 2 to 3 metres. The conditions 
made observing quite difficult and photography very difficult.


Activity:  We left Pirates Bay at 7.15am. From the start the sides of Pauletta 
closed to stop spray wetting us all. Soon after leaving the bay we encountered 
our first Shy Albatross followed by our first Short-tailed Shearwater. They 
remained the dominant birds throughout the trip. We headed to the Hippolytes 
seeing occasional small groups of Black-faced Cormorant on the move and an 
occasional Gannett. A few Diving Petrel were seen with the conditions making 
them difficult to pick up. We did a circuit of the larger Hippolyte rock where 
Black-face Cormorant and Australian Fur Seals were resting. We were treated to 
two White-bellied Sea Eagles soaring close together over the Hippolytes. Just 
as we headed east from here we had a short encounter with a single Buller’s 
Albatross, the only seen for the day, and had a pass or two from a Wandering 
type Albatross and a Northern Giant Petrel further east.


14 kilometres east of the Hippolytes at 150 fathoms we started to burley with 
chicken skin and fish. Shy Albatross and Short-tailed Shearwater quickly 
started to feed at the back of the boat with up to 35 of the former and 25 of 
the latter in the water most of the time. A Southern Royal Albatross and a 
Gibson’s type Wandering Albatross settled on the water for a time and 
eventually a second Southern Royal joined in. Wilson’s Storm Petrel and later 
Grey-backed Storm Petrel were seen and a White-chinned Petrel joined the 
feeding. It was of interest, that a Gannett or two sat in the water at burley 
sites as well as following the boat. A small, unidentified passerine was seen 
struggling to fly back towards shore in the strong wind. After an hour or so of 
drifting and motoring to maintain good position in the rough sea we reached 300 
fathoms. With no new birds appearing It was decided to head further south for a 
second burley session, about 3.5 km south of our first position. A single 
Northern Royal Albatross and an immature Black-browed Albatross were the only 
new birds seen at this site.


At around midday with wind strengthening John decided to head inshore towards 
the Hippolytes. Heading into the seas was hard going with waves regularly 
breaking over the boat, and the throttle had to be cut on several occasions to 
avoid going through larger waves. It was decided to stop about a kilometer or 
two south of the Hippolytes, for a burley session on a tideline. No new birds 
were seen at this site. We were all fairly happy to arrive safely back in 
Pirates Bay at around 3.30pm.


Mammal Species:


Australian Fur Seal: c. 5 on the Hippolyte and a similar number offshore.


Dusky Dolphin: A small group of this species, seen uncommonly in Tasmanian 
waters. A single dolphin did repetitive leaps from the water, a characteristic 
of this species, with photographs later confirming the identity.


Birds Species


Bullers’s Albatross 1 (1)

Wandering-type Albatross 4 (1)  1 exulans , 1 gibsoni

Southern Royal Albatross 3 (2)

Northern Royal Albatross 1 (1)

Black-browed Albatross 1 (1) an immature bird

Shy Albatross 150 (50)

Southern Giant Petrel 5 (1)

Cape Petrel 2 (2)

Fairy Prion 6 (1)

White-chinned Petrel 2 (2)

Short-tailed Shearwater 1000 (100)

Wilson’s Storm Petrel 3 (1)

Grey-backed Storm Petrel 2 (1)

Common Diving Petrel  6 (1)

Australasian Gannett 10 (2)

Black-faced Cormorant 80 (40)

White-bellied Sea Eagle 2 (2)

Silver Gull 20 (5)

Kelp Gull 20 (5)

Crested Tern  3 (1)










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