BirdLife Australia pelagic trip off Eaglehawk Neck Tas, Sunday 15th Feb

Subject: BirdLife Australia pelagic trip off Eaglehawk Neck Tas, Sunday 15th Feb 2015
From: Rohan Clarke <>
Date: Sat, 21 Feb 2015 21:12:57 +1100
Hi All,
The BirdLife Australia pelagic got out off Eaglehawk Neck last Sunday. Next scheduled trips are for 18 and 19 July and 12 and 13 September. All four trips are fully booked but happy to add people to the waitlist.
Rohan Clarke

Sunday 15th Feb 2015

OBSERVERS: Paul Brooks, Chris Lester, Rosemary Lester, Jan Smith, Sonja Ross, John Stirling

Karen Dick, Jim Sneddon, Pam Smith, Paul Taylor, Tim Bawden, Pieter de Groot Boersma and Rohan Clarke (organiser, report compiler).

WEATHER: Cloudy through much of the day, clearing a bit at the shelf. Wind mostly north-easterly, shifting more northerly around midday. Mostly 20-25 knots but reaching 30 knots for a period around 11 am. Warm, owing to the northerly wind direction.

SEA: A bit rubbish really. A 2 m sea and a 1.5 m swell in inshore waters, shifting to a 2-3 swell and a 1-1.5 m sea in pelagic waters. A bit of spray but not as wet as it could have been. A bit of rocking and rolling and a few bumps on the way out and only a little more stable when berleying. As the sea followed us on the way back in the ride was better for the last leg. None seasick but at least a couple felt a bit queasy.

ACTIVITY: Departed Pirates Bay Wharf at 0715 EST. Given the prevailing winds and the forecast for the day we took a north easterly heading to the shelf and passed up the usual visit to the Hippolytes. Good numbers of birds on the way out with concentrations of albatross in inshore waters and plenty of birds including a few petrels just before reaching the shelf. Made a brief stop about half a mile before the shelf for the South Polar Skua. Crossed the shelf break (100 fathoms) at 0940 before making our first stop 1 mile beyond the shelf over 200-300 fathoms of water. Here we berleyed for an extended session before moving to a second pelagic berley point just a little way south (also 200-300 fathoms). Started heading in at around 1230 crossing the shelf soon after before a final ~20 minute berley stop over 65 fathoms. Docked just after 1500.

MAMMALS: 2 Fur Seals seen in the water at the entrance to Pirates Bay. Presumably Australian Fur Seals but not seen well.

Common Dolphin a dispersed 'pod' of 3 in inshore waters in the AM. A pod of 25+ in the PM in inshore waters in the PM.

BIRDS: 25 species of seabird beyond the point at Pirates Bay was a good count for a Tasmanian pelagic especially since it was v rough and we missed Little Penguin and Pacific Gull which are almost certainties if we head out past the Hippolytes. South Polar Skua was easily the best bird of the day. Buller's Shearwater, Gould's Petrel were also nice records (though fairly typical of Feb pelagics off Eaglehawk).

Wandering Albatross: (exulens) 2 definite exulens at the first and second berley point. Nice white birds so the ID was straightforward (Another two Wandering-types that were either exulens or gibsoni, both pelgaic).

Antipodean Albatross: (gibsoni). 2 definite gibsoni at the second berley point. (As above, another two Wandering-types that were either exulens or gibsoni, both pelgaic).

Black-browed Albatross: A single immature at the first berley point.

Shy Albatross: 110 (30). all cauta: 30 inshore, 20 offshore, 60 pelagic with good numbers following us back inshore on the return leg. All adult except for a single immature just inside the shelf in the PM.

Yellow-nosed Albatross: 3 (2). 1 pelagic at the both berley points and 2 together just inside the shelf in the PM. All adults.

Buller's Albatross: 50 (15). 20 inshore, 10 offshore remainder pelagic. All adults.

Grey-backed Storm-Petrel: 8 (5). All pelagic.

White-faced Storm-Petrel: 70 (30). 25 offshore, remainder pelagic.

Wilson's Storm-Petrel: 2 (1). 1 at each of the first and second berley points.

Short-tailed Shearwater: ~7000 (500). 10 in inshore waters, ~5000 in offshore waters, 1500 pelagic; small numbers passing through continuously at the berley points but only a couple of birds actually came in and fed.

Sooty Shearwater: 10 (2). 3 in offshore waters, remainder pelagic

Fluttering Shearwater: 3 (3). 3 in inshore waters. Another 3+ 'Fluttons' in offshore waters.

Hutton's Shearwater: 6 (3). 1 inshore, 3 offshore and 2 pelagic.

BULLERS SHEARWATER: 2 (2) Together at second berley point, but both birds mostly distant and only present for a minute or two.

White-chinned Petrel: 60 (30). Mostly pelagic but 2 offshore in the AM. At least 10 followed us back into offshore waters in the PM

Great-winged Petrel: 45 (25). All gouldi. 3 in offshore waters in the AM, the remainder pelagic. A few followed us back into offshore waters. This is quite a high count for an Eaglehawk Neck pelagic.

GOULD'S PETREL: 1. A single distant flyby at the second berley stop. A second 'cookalaria' was seen at the first berley point but views were v distant and fleeting and ID wasn't possible.

Common Diving-Petrel: 8 (2). 5 inshore, 3 offshore in the AM.

Australasian Gannet: 9 (5), 5 inshore, 1 offshore and 3 pelagic. All adult.

Black-faced Cormorant: 6 (4), 2 inshore in the AM, another 4 inshore in the PM.

Crested Tern: 8 (4). 2 inshore in the AM, 2 pelagic and 4 offshore in the PM.

SOUTH POLAR SKUA: A pale morph bird flew across the wake (~100 m distant) in offshore waters (about half a mile from the shelf) in the AM. We stopped the boat and everybody got onto it. This is the first South Polar Skua that I am aware of on a pelagic off Eaglehawk Neck.

Arctic Jaeger: 2 together in inshore waters in the AM

Kelp Gull: 5 adults inshore in the AM and a juvenile inshore in the PM.

Silver Gull: 5 inshore in the AM.

Rohan Clarke

Rohan Clarke

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