Eaglehawk Pelagic Trip Report, 30th November 2013

Subject: Eaglehawk Pelagic Trip Report, 30th November 2013
From: Paul Brooks <>
Date: Mon, 9 Dec 2013 21:26:20 +1100
*Participants:* Ian Halliday, Rob Hamilton, June Harris, Norm Harris,
Murray Lord, Steve McBride, Jeremy O’Wheel, Stuart Pickering, Colin Reid,
Maria Jose Valencia Sanchez-Arevalo, Els Wakefield, Kathy Wilk and Paul
Brooks (organiser and report compiler).

*Conditions:* A fairly rough day after a gentle cruise out to the
Hippolytes.  The swell was generally a gentle 2 metres but seas were
variable, approaching 3 metres at times, and the stiff south-westerlies (up
to 30 kts) whipped up a few nasty breakers that saw a couple of our number
take a tumble.  Considerable spray at times.  Water temperature around
14.1°C.  Overcast in the morning with periods of drizzle becoming fine and
sunny in the afternoon.  Only one seasick.

*Activity*:  After a fairly uneventful run out to the Hippolytes, our usual
circumnavigation was interrupted by the sighting of a small tern on the
southern side of the rock, feeding with a large flock of gulls, shearwaters
and gannets.  Although we chased the bird for 5 minutes, only distant views
and a single photograph were obtained before it gave us the slip.  In the
photograph,which is probably not quite good enough for ID purposes, the
bird appears to show features of both White-fronted and Common Terns.
While White-fronted Terns are commonly seen off Eaglehawk it would be a
little late in the season; a Common Tern would be a significant record as
they are rarely seen this far south.

            The trip out to the shelf was also rather uneventful, although
the appearance of the first White-chinned Petrel put smiles on a few faces
as it was a lifer for them.  The White-chins kept coming after the berley
went out, joined briefly by a Great-winged (Grey-faced) Petrel and our only
Sooty Shearwater for the day.  Not long after, a cookilaria-type petrel was
seen passing well to the east, unfortunately too fleeting for an ID.  To
compensate, one of our stand-out birds and a real surprise, flew in from
the north in the form of an adult GREY-HEADED ALBATROSS.  The bird sat
around the boat for ten minutes or so, giving great photo opportunities.

Soon after, a GOULD’S PETREL zoomed past from the north, unfortunately not
stopping but still giving adequate views to most on board.  The next
highlight was a beautiful Northern Royal Albatross joining the Southern
Royals, Antipodeans, Campbells and Shies that were already in attendance.
This was followed shortly after by a COOK’S PETREL, which was more obliging
than the Gould’s in giving everyone decent views as it flew by the back of
the boat.

We headed north for more berleying; on the way another cookilaria was seen
flashing by from the north.  It wasn’t seen well enough for a firm ID but
was considered likely to be a Mottled Petrel on size.  Not long after
starting our second slick, a confirmed MOTTLED PETREL was seen, again
flying from the north, taking our tally of cookilaria petrels for the day
to three.  A second Northern Royal Albatross showed up towards the end of
the drift.  With a slow trip back likely in the conditions, we soon headed
back to port with a brief, uneventful stop over the shelf.  Our only new
species added was a White-bellied Sea Eagle near the cliffs to the north of
Pirate’s Bay but there were smiles all round as everybody had added at
least a couple of lifers on the day.


Australian Fur Seal: around a dozen on the Hippolytes.

Common Dolphin: just the one inshore in the morning.

*Birds (IOC v 3.4) max numbers at once in brackets:*

Antipodean Albatross: 5 (2) all probably *gibsoni*

Southern Royal Albatross: 3 (2)

Northern Royal Albatross: 2 (1)

Black-browed type Albatross: 1 (1) juvenile between our 1st & 2nd  stops.

Campbell Albatross: 3 (2)

Shy Albatross: c. 50 (15)


Northern Giant Petrel: 2 (1)

Giant Petrel sp: 2 (1)

Fairy Prion: 1 (1)

Great-winged Petrel: 1 (1) race *gouldi*

White-chinned Petrel: c. 50 (21)

MOTTLED PETREL: 1 (1) plus another likely



Sooty Shearwater: 1 (1)

Short-tailed Shearwater: Thousands.  Always visible from inshore of the
Hippolytes to out wide.

Wilson’s Storm Petrel: c. 20 (8)

Grey-backed Storm Petrel: 3 (2)

White-faced Storm Petrel: 1 (1)

Common Diving Petrel: 3 (1)

Australasian Gannet: c. 100 inshore and offshore.

Black-faced Cormorant: c. 200 inshore and on the Hippolytes.

White-bellied Sea Eagle: 1 (1)

Silver Gull: c. 150 inshore and on the Hippolyte.

Kelp Gull: c. 100 inshore and on the Hippolyte.

Greater Crested Tern: 8 (2)

White-fronted/Common Tern: 1 (1)


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