BirdLife Victoria Portland Pelagic - Report on trips in 2015

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Subject: BirdLife Victoria Portland Pelagic - Report on trips in 2015
From: Chris Lester <>
Date: Wed, 31 Aug 2016 07:56:22 +0000
Dear Birding-Ausers,

I do an annual report on how the BirdLife Victoria Pelagics go out
of Portland. In the past, they have usually been published in the BirdLife
Victoria (or BA-Vic) magazine. This hasn't been the case for several years
and I thought it might be useful to post them on Birding-Aus for those that
are interested. So, here is the one for 2015.



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


By Chris Lester


Trips in 2015 – an OK year

In 2015, five boat trips were held, which is just above our expected
average of four when we are scheduling only one trip a month (rather than
having a second back-up day).  The range of species and the rarities that
turned up were pretty good, particularly in the first half of the year. We
were disappointed that Shannon Churchill sold his boat, the Southern Pride,
in the second half of the year and stopped taking us out. He had done an
excellent job for us since we started with him in 2010. We did, however,
start positively in November with a new combination in Kevin Treloar and
the Timaru.

2015 rarities

The 2015 highlights were:

April – 1 Soft-plumaged and 1 White-headed Petrel and 6 Buller’s

May – Four species of Prion with 1 Salvin’s, 2 Antarctic and 1

June – at least 3 Antarctic Terns, 5 White-fronted Terns and a Salvin’s

November – 40+ White-chinned Petrels and 1 Hutton’s Shearwater.

December – 3 White-headed Petrels.

2015 seasonal variation

Autumn regulars were Northern Giant-Petrel, Common Diving-Petrel, Cape and
White-chinned Petrel, Sooty, Flesh-footed and Hutton’s Shearwaters,
Buller’s Albatross, White-faced and Grey-backed Storm-Petrels, Arctic
Jaeger and Southern Skua. In winter, the regulars were Northern
Giant-Petrel, Common Diving-Petrel, Cape Petrel, Sooty Shearwater,
Grey-backed Storm-Petrel, Southern Skua and White-fronted Tern.

Regular spring birds were White-chinned Petrel, Hutton’s Shearwater and
White-fronted Tern. The regular species on our summer trip were Northern
Giant-Petrel, Common Diving-Petrel, White-chinned Petrel, Flesh-footed
Shearwater and White-faced Storm-Petrel.

In this seasonal context, “regular” and “common” only means that the
species were observed in the relevant season.  It does not mean that the
number of individuals was high.  In fact, the number may be very low as,
for example, with the listings of Wandering Albatross, Sooty Shearwater and
White-fronted Tern, where usually only one or two birds are observed on
each occasion.

The common pelagic bird species

>From Portland, the common birds seen on nearly all trips are Little
Penguin, Fairy Prion, Great-winged Petrel, Wilson’s Storm-Petrel,
Short-tailed and Fluttering Shearwaters, Shy, Black-browed, Yellow-nosed
and Wandering Albatrosses, Australasian Gannet, Black-faced Cormorant,
Silver, Pacific and Kelp Gulls and Crested Tern.


It was only fair for cetaceans during 2015.  The highlight was Long-finned
Pilot Whales in December.  As well, we saw the normal Common Dolphins at
sea and the Australian Fur Seals on Lawrence Rocks on most outings.
Strangely, we again did not record Bottle-nosed Dolphins on any trips in


The Victorian Pelagic from Portland is an official BirdLife Australia
outing.  This group supports our trip in many ways and has our thanks.
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