We had two pelagic trips off Eaglehawk Neck, SE Tasmania last weekend.
Very pleasant seas for a Tassie pelagic but the hoped for cold water
specialties failed to materialise, indeed with the appearance of
Long-tailed and Arctic Jaeger and White-chinned Petrel spring had
sprung. Wandering Albatross (of any form) was a notable absence for the
weekend. Below is the report for Saturday.
BIRDLIFE PELAGIC TRIP OFF EAGLEHAWK NECK, TASMANIA
Saturday 12th September 2015
OBSERVERS: Paul Brooks, Karen Dick, Glen Pacey, Gil Langfield, Paul
Newman, Scott Baker, Tim Bawden, Rob Farnes, Elliot Leach, Mona
Loofs-samorzewski, Andrew Wood & Rohan Clarke (organiser and report
WEATHER: 50-90% cloud cover throughout the day, so occasional short
breaks of sunlight. Mild. 5 knot variable wind built to a 10 knot
southerly around midday. No haze and generally good conditions for
SEA: Glassy on a small swell as we headed out. This built to a 1-1.5 m
swell with a 0.5 m sea by the time we crossed the shelf. Occasional sets
to 2 m. A very comfortable ride with no spray or slop. No one noticeably
ACTIVITY: Departed Pirates Bay Wharf at 0710. Headed to the shelf break
via the Hippolytes (a prominent rock stack). Crossed the shelf (100
fathoms) at 0905 before making our first stop at 43º14’ 20"S 148º13'
24"E over 260-300 fathoms of water. With berley the number of birds
gradually increased. This second stop was made at 43º13’ 47"S 148º15'
26"E over 570 fathoms where we stayed until the inward homeward leg at
1230. Crossed the shelf at 1300 Docked at 15:00.
Fur Seals: 20 on the Hippolytes.
Common Dolphin: a pod of 20 just 300 m east of the entrance to Pirates
Bay in the PM.
BIRDS: 27 seabird species beyond the point at Pirates Bay was about
average for a Tasmanian pelagic. Highlights were close flyby by an
Arctic Tern and an early Long-tailed Jaeger. Southern and Northern Royal
Albatross on the water at the back of the boat was also nice.
SOUTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS: 5 (4). At least 5 different individuals on
plumage. All pelagic.
NORTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS: 2 juveniles. Both at the 2nd berley point
Black-browed Albatross: 3 (2). 2 immatures beyond the shelf and 1 adult
in offshore waters in the PM.
Buller's Albatross: 1 adult flyby, pelagic.
Yellow-nosed Albatross: 1 adult offshore in the PM.
Shy Albatross: 90 (50). 2 inshore, 8 offshore, remainder pelagic. 1
immature offshore, 4 juvenile/immatures pelagic, remainder adult. The
dominant albatross of the day. All cauta-like.
Grey-backed Storm-Petrel: 4 (3). All pelagic.
White-faced Storm-Petrel: 5 (3). All pelagic.
SLENDER-BILLED PRION: 1 pelagic at both the berley points. It circled
the boat repeatedly. A small dishevelled patch of feathers on the right
upperwing demonstrated it was the same bird throughout the day.
Fairy Prion: 30 (15). All pelagic. A couple of larger-billed birds
amongst them that were presumably Sub-Antarctic Fairy Prions.
Sooty Shearwater: 5 (2). 1 offshore, 4 pelagic.
Northern Giant Petrel: 7 (5). 1 immature offshore, 4 immatures, 1
Common Diving Petrel: 20 (5). 4 inshore, 15 offshore, 1 pelagic.
macroptera 26 (10). All pelagic.
NZ gouldi. 6 (2). All pelagic but 1 followed us back into offshore
waters in the PM.
White-headed Petrel: 1 pelagic flyby. Distant and poor views.
White-chinned Petrel: 1 at the second berley point.
Cape Petrel: 5 (5). All pelagic. All of the nominate ssp.
Australasian Gannet: 8 (4). All inshore.
Black-faced Cormorant: 2 inshore in the AM. Also 120 perched on the
Hippolytes and adjacent small rocks.
Crested Tern: 3 (2). All pelagic.
White-fronted Tern: 4 (2). 2 pelagic, 2 off shore in the PM. All adult.
ARCTIC TERN: 1 second year bird. A single close flyby at the second
berley point. In primary moult. It took a few days to resolve the ID.
LONG-TAILED JAEGER: 1 immature pelagic as a quick flyby. An early record
with all previous Eaglehawk Neck records being in the period Nov-Feb.
Arctic Jaeger: 1 inshore in the PM. Early but not unprecedented in
September with one previous record in 22 trips.
Pacific Gull: 1 adult inshore in the AM.
Kelp Gull: 17 (9). All inshore in the AM or PM. Very few on the
Hippolytes. Almost entirely adult but at least 1 second-year bird.
Silver Gull: 45 (20). All inshore.
Single immature Peregrine Falcon at the Hippolytes and a couple of Sooty
Oystercatchers on the rock shelf outside Pirates Bay rounded out the list.
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