Eaglehawk Pelagic Trip Report – August 21st, 2016
Ruth Brozek, Karen Dick, Rob Hamilton, Stephen Kaye, Mona
Loofs-Samorzewski, Angus McNab, Nicole Sommer, John Tongue, Shirley Tongue,
Peter Tongue, Kimberley Tongue, Els Wakefield, and Paul Brooks (organiser
and report compiler)
The Pauletta, skippered by John Males, with deckhand Lucas.
The prevailing northerlies in the week leading up to the trip left us less
than optimistic about the chances of seeing many of the subantarctic
specialties and our fears were, in the main, proven correct. Things were
very quiet at our first stop but, after moving north, things started to
pick up a bit. A single Grey Petrel gave good, if brief views to all on
board; a very welcome lifer for some. Two Northern Royal Albatross stayed
with the boat for some time, another lifer for some, and a good opportunity
to compare with a juvenile Southern Royal Albatross which was present at
the same time. An Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross with a grey face and a
dark smudge in front of the eye created some interest; it was first seen
sitting on the shady side of the boat, which gave the impression of a dark
hood, but closer inspection dashed our hopes. Small birds were in very
short supply out wide with singles of Grey-backed Storm Petrel and Fairy
Prion being outnumbered by Common Diving Petrels. The complete absence of
Cape Petrel was also notable.
Left port at 0730 hrs, heading south to pass Cheverton Rock, before moving
on to the Hippolytes. Rather than go all the way around, we tracked south
to investigate a congregation of birds over a bait ball. We then headed
south-east to set a slick over 240 fathoms at 0930 hrs. A theft from the
Pauletta the night before left us without chicken skins but we berleyed
with various fish frames and tuna oil, drifting to 305 fathoms, before
heading north at 1050 hrs. Motored north for 20 mins before starting
another drift over 590 fathoms until 1220 hrs. We drifted out over 900
fathoms and lost the bottom on the depth sounder. We then headed north
again for another quick stop over 800 fathoms, from 1230-1240 hrs. Headed
directly back to port, docking at 1500 hrs.
Left port in a 10 knot westerly with a gentle 1-1.5 m swell and mainly
cloudless skies. Towards the Hipploytes, the swell picked up to 2 metres
and increased to 3 metres offshore. The westerly increased to 10-15 knots
and the swell topped 4 metres occasionally with seas up to 1.5 metres.
Cloud cover increased during the morning until it was mainly cloudy with a
few sunny patches. Water temperature was 13.1 deg C inshore, dropping to
12.8 deg C at our first berley stop, and rising to 13.3 deg C as we headed
north, probably over a tide line. Air temperature was cold. Only one
seasick, the young and inexperienced decky.
Australian/New Zealand Fur Seal: c. 10 On and around the Hippolytes plus 1
Birds (IOC v 6.3 – max at one time in brackets):
Grey-backed Storm Petrel: 1 bird appeared very briefly in the slick before
Wandering Albatross: 5 (2) 3 juveniles and 2 older individuals in pelagic
Southern Royal Albatross: 4 (2) One bird showed at distance offshore in the
morning. All others in pelagic waters, including a juvenile which followed
us well into offshore waters on the way home.
NORTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS: 3 (2) One bird showed at distance offshore in the
morning. Other birds in pelagic waters, including an adult which followed
us well into offshore waters on the way home.
Black-browed Albatross: 3 (2) All immature, all in pelagic waters.
Shy Albatross: c. 120 (c. 70) 1 inshore in the morning; 7 offshore in the
morning; remainder pelagic. Mainly adult *cauta/steadi* with 6 immatures.
One partially leucistic bird had two white outer primaries on each wing as
well as many grey/white feathers on the dorsal surface of the wing, giving
a mottled appearance.
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross: 8 (3) The highest number seen on an
Eaglehawk trip for a while. 2 birds inshore in the morning; 1 offshore in
the morning; remainder pelagic.
Buller’s Albatross: 6 (3) 2 inshore in the morning; 1 offshore in the
morning; remainder pelagic. All adult.
Northern Giant Petrel: 1 immature in pelagic waters.
Fairy Prion: A single bird fed in the slick for a short while.
Great-winged Petrel: 1 (1) Pelagic.
Grey-faced Petrel: 8 (4) All pelagic.
Providence Petrel: 4 (2) 1 bird passed the boat shortly after we left our
first berley stop. 3 more birds made fairly close passes at our second and
GREY PETREL: 1 bird did a couple of laps in pelagic waters.
Sooty Shearwater: 1 in pelagic waters.
Common Diving Petrel: 26 (2) 1 inshore in the morning; 15 offshore in the
morning; 6 pelagic; 4 offshore in the afternoon.
Black-faced Cormorant: 2 (1) inshore in the morning, a very low count for
Australasian Gannet: 33 (9) 18 inshore in the morning; 14 offshore in the
morning; 1 in pelagic waters.
White-bellied Sea Eagle: 1 flying over the heads on our return to Pirates
Sooty Oystercatcher: 2 (2) On a rock shelf near Tasman Arch in the
Silver Gull: 2 (2) Inshore in the morning.
Pacific Gull: 2 (1) Adults inshore in the morning.
Kelp Gull: c.60 (c. 40) Inshore and around the Hippolyte in the morning –
adults, immatures and juveniles.
Greater Crested Tern: 13 (4) 1 inshore in the morning; 5 offshore in the
morning; remainder pelagic.
Forest Raven: 4 (2) 2 flying to the Hippolyte from shore in the morning and
another at the heads in the afternoon.
Tree Martin: 12 (4) Flying along the cliffs from Waterfall Bay to the heads
in the afternoon.
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