BirdLife Victoria Pelagic off Portland, Victoria, Sunday 8 November 2015
Participants: Ruth Woodrow, Tim Bawden, Brian Johnston, David Burren, Mark
Buckby, Trevor Hunt, Iian and Alana Denham, John McRae, Jim Wright and Paul
Crew: Kev (skipper) and Nick.
This was our first trip on a new boat from Portland after the previous
operator, Shannon Churchill, sold the Southern Pride to a New Zealand-based
charter operator. The new boat, the Timaru is slightly wider than Southern
Pride but a little shorter. It is, however, MUCH faster with our trip to the
shelf cut to less than two hours compared with two and a half previously.
Kevin Treloar, the owner and skipper, was very keen to ensure that we had a
good trip - and was very amenable to the directions I provided. Nick, the
deckhand was equally receptive to suggestions and was also equally keen that
we had a good trip.
Activity: Departed Portland Harbour aboard the Timaru at 06.55 heading
south-west to the shelf. We stopped right on the shelf break for our first
stop at 38°39.422'S, 141°14.432'E in 180 fathoms of water, where we berleyed
from 08.50 till 10.10. We moved to the south-east to 38°43.329'S,
141°16.248'E in 500 fathoms and stayed there from 10.40 until 12.00. We
moved further east and berleyed at 38°41.924'S, 141°21.860'E in 194 fathoms
over a well-known underwater feature called "The Horseshoe" from 12.30 until
13.50. We then headed back to the north-east spending a considerable amount
of time circumnavigating Lawrence Rocks, before returning to Portland
Harbour and docking at 16.30. No participants were seasick.
Conditions: In the harbour there was nil wind and completely flat sea. Once
we left the harbour we had no sea and swell of 1-1.5m decreasing to 0.5m
during the day. Wind was a light northerly, initially 3-5 knots and easing
to 1-2 knots later in the day. It was warm and sunny for the duration of the
Summary: A very quiet day on the pond with 19 species of seabird (and three
other species seen on the rocks). In addition to low variety, there were low
numbers of those species that we did see. The highlight was 15 White-chinned
Petrel that magically appeared at the third berley point.
Common Dolphin: a small pod on the way out and two small pods on the way in.
Australian Fur Seal: the normal numbers (about 50) loafing at Lawrence
Rocks. One seen inshore on way out.
Shark sp: At second berley point. Initially thought to be Blue Shark, but
had unusual white markings on the upper snout and on the top and leading
edge of the pectoral fins.
“Jellyfish” sp: At second berley point an unusually large number of
“jellyfish” of various types including several Portuguese man o’war
Little Pied Cormorant 1 (1). Harbour.
Crested Tern 230 (200). Harbour, inshore, offshore and pelagic with around
200 on Lawrence Rocks.
Black-faced Cormorant 56 (40). Harbour, inshore and around 40 on Lawrence
Silver Gull 111 (100). Harbour, inshore and around 100 on Lawrence Rocks.
Pacific Gull 1 (1). Harbour.
Australasian Gannet ~2000. Inshore, Point Danger (~200) with most on
Shy Albatross 45 (20). Inshore, offshore and pelagic. Most (around 25) at
second berley point.
Fluttering Shearwater 6 (4). Offshore, 1 pelagic at first berley point.
Jaeger sp 1 (1). Inshore between Lawrence Rocks and coast. Not identified
definitely to species but considered likely to be Pomeraine. Flying away
from us, low to the water, towards a flock of feeding Gannets.
Short-tailed Shearwater 550 (200). Several large feeding groups on the
water. 6 birds pelagic, 2 at second berley point and 4 at third.
Huttons Shearwater 1 (1). Offshore.
Fairy Prion 35 (12). Offshore and pelagic. One large group of at least 12
birds on the water as we were heading back in.
White-chinned Petrel 40+ (26+). Pelagic. At each berley point with 26+ at
Great-winged Petrel 5 (4). Pelagic. Four gouldi, one macroptera.
Antipodean Albatross 1 (1). Pelagic at second stop. Gibsoni.
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross 1 (1). Pelagic at second stop.
Little (Fairy) Penguin 3 (2). Offshore.
White-fronted Tern 1 (1). Lawrence Rocks - initially identified when flock
of 200 Crested Terns took flight. Easily located when the birds settled down
again. Good close looks for all on board.
Great Cormorant 1 (1). Lawrence Rocks. An unusual sighting at the rocks.
Sooty Oystercatcher 2 (2). Lawrence Rocks.
Chestnut Teal 2 (2). Lawrence Rocks.
Kelp Gull 3 (2). Lawrence Rocks.
Little Black Cormorant 3 (3). Lawrence Rocks.
Welcome Swallow 3 (3). Lawrence Rocks.
All the best,
For details of future Portland trips, go to the BirdLife Australia web site
at the bottom of the relevant Birdlife Victoria page at
For reports of past BA-Vic and BirdLife Victoria trips from Portland and
Port Fairy, search the Birding-Aus archives for the trip reports at
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