Albany Pelagic Trip Report - 8 Feb 2015

To: "" <>, Birding-Aus <>
Subject: Albany Pelagic Trip Report - 8 Feb 2015
From: John Graff <>
Date: Sat, 21 Feb 2015 11:38:15 +0800
Hi again,

The report and some photos from the Albany pelagic on Sunday 8th February is 
also now online at
 The text-only version is again included below.

A similar trip in terms of species to the Saturday trip, though conditions were 
much rougher. 


Summary: This was also an interesting trip, with a reasonable variety of 
seabirds, though most species were the same as the previous day’s trip. 11 
tubenose species were recorded, along with several skua and tern species. The 
highlights were more Sooty Terns and Short-tailed Shearwaters, and several 
close passes from a Wandering-type Albatross.

Participants: Alan Collins (Organiser), John Graff (Organiser), Plaxy Barratt, 
Bill Betts, Nick Brown, Stewart Ford, Jacinta King, Dan Mantle, Wayne Merritt, 
Michael Morcombe, Mark Newman, Steve Reynolds, George Swann, Roy Teale

Conditions: Conditions were significantly rougher than experienced on the 
Saturday trip, with seas forecast at 1.5-2m with a primary swell SW’ly at 2-3m 
and a secondary swell E’ly at 1m. Winds were forecast easterly at 15-20knts, 
reaching 25knts inshore. Conditions were largely as forecast which made for a 
wet and rough trip!

We departed Emu Point Boat Harbour at approximately 0600. The outbound journey 
was quite rough and wet, particularly in the sloppy conditions just outside the 
heads. The first Flesh-footed Shearwaters began to appear as we entered King 
George Sound. A number of Arctic Jaegers were also active in the sound, with 
five individuals seen harassing a Silver Gull at one point. As we approached 
the heads, a small group of Common Bottlenose Dolphins were again seen briefly, 
in a similar area to the previous day. We cleared the heads and Flesh-footed 
Shearwater numbers increased. Not long afterwards, two Short-tailed Shearwaters 
were also seen behind the boat, and a few people saw three distant Long-tailed 
Jaegers. A single tern was also seen by several people, and considered to be a 
Bridled Tern. Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross were seen sporadically for most of 
the outbound journey, along with a couple of Shy Albatross and a single 
Black-browed Albatross seen by a few people. The first major excitement came as 
we approached the shelf break and a dark bird with an obvious white belly was 
seen off the starboard side – unfortunately, this turned out to be a leucistic 
Flesh-footed Shearwater rather than a crippling rarity! This was followed by a 
smaller bird with a pale belly that was initially suspected to be a 
Soft-plumaged Petrel. However, at least one observer suspected a shearwater, 
and was proven correct when photographs confirmed a Hutton’s Shearwater.

We stopped the boat after reaching the 800m mark. Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross 
and Flesh-footed Shearwaters immediately gathered around the boat, and 
occasional Great-winged Petrels and Short-tailed Shearwaters made passes. 
Several Wilson’s and White-faced Storm-Petrels also made appearance in the 
slick. Bird activity remained relatively high, but nothing new was seen until 
two Sooty Terns made a pass. A couple of Crested Terns were something of a 
surprise this deep given the relatively rough conditions. We were drifting west 
relatively quickly, but remaining in deep water. However, with nothing new 
coming in we decided to try something different and moved into shallower water 
where the shelf break was steeper.

We stopped just short of midday in about 400 m of water. Initially, species 
were much the same as the previous stop, until the call went out for a 
Wandering-type Albatross. Unlike the Saturday bird, this individual made 
several close passes of the boat, showing a largely white body, with a moderate 
amount of white in the upperwing – this is a challenging plumage to identify 
with certainty, with Snowy exulans, Antipodean (Gibson’s) gibsoni and Tristan 
dabbenena all showing this plumage. The apparently relatively small and slight 
build, and location, suggest gibsoni may be the most likely candidate. Another 
Sooty Tern was also seen. We were drifting rapidly west, so we motored back to 
the start of the drift and started again. An adult Black-browed Albatross, 
showing some serious damage to the bill tip, arrived and remained in the 
vicinity for the remainder of the stop. It was later joined by a young 
Black-browed-type Albatross, which was suggested as a possible Campbell at the 
time. However, subsequent analysis of photos suggests it is more likely to be a 
Black-browed Albatross, and it may be best left as a Black-browed sp. 
Interestingly, the bird was banded, along with at least one of the Flesh-footed 
Shearwaters seen on the trip. Unfortunately, full band details couldn’t be 
ascertained in either case.

We set off for home shortly before 1400, with the two Black-browed Albatross 
[sp.] following us for an extended period. The return trip was wet and fairly 
rough at times, with one particularly large wave sending the large plastic 
containers at the back of the boat flying. Bird-wise it was relatively 
uneventful until several Hutton’s Shearwaters were seen as we approached the 
heads. A single Little Shearwater was also seen briefly as it passed the bow, 
and two Bridled Terns were seen relatively close to the coast. We docked at 
approximately 1645. Many thanks as always to all the participants, and to Tony 
and Fred from Spinners Charters for their assistance.

Species List (Total count [Maximum seen at one time])
Wandering Albatross sp. 1 (1) – probable [antipodensis] gibsoni
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross 25 (8)
Black-browed Albatross 3 (1)
Black-browed Albatross [sp.] 1 (1)
Shy Albatross 8 (2)
Great-winged Petrel 15 (2)
Flesh-footed Shearwater 400 (100)
Short-tailed Shearwater 20 (2)
Hutton's Shearwater 7 (6)
Little Shearwater 1 (1)
Wilsons Storm-Petrel 6 (4)
White-faced Storm-Petrel 15 (4)
Arctic Jaeger 8 (5)
Long-tailed Jaeger 3 (3)
Crested Tern 5 (2)
Sooty Tern 4 (2)
Bridled Tern 3 (2)
Australasian Gannet 3 (1)

Common Bottlenose Dolphin 3 (3)
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