Here is the report for how the BA-Vic Portland Pelagics went for 2006.
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
THE BA – VIC VICTORIAN PELAGIC FROM PORT FAIRY IN 2006
By Chris Lester
VICTORIAN PELAGIC BIRDING IN 2006
Trips in 2006 – a good year
In 2006, six boat trips were held, which reverts to the normal Port Fairy
experience of 6-7 trips rather than the 8-9 we have held over the previous
three years. This means that in 2006, I cancelled or postponed two-thirds
of all trips planned as I try for at least two Sundays in a month if the
weather causes a postponement. This is not a very high success rate. It
shows why there are a lot of frustrated birders in Victoria still waiting
to get out on a pelagic.
The year got off to a great start with trips in January, February and March
but then we stumbled with trips in June and August and then only a November
trip for the rest of the year. As well, the number of rarities seen on
trips was also well down.
The 2006 highlights were:
January - White-headed and Mottled Petrels and (Northern) Royal Albatross.
The rare birds got off to an excellent start for the year as the Mottled
Petrel was the first live bird sighted in Victoria.
February - (Southern) Royal Albatross ands Great Skua.
March - (Northern and Southern) Royal Albatrosses.
June - Antarctic Prion and Buller’s Albatross (the latter unusual in
August - Blue Petrel, which was the first for several years, and (Southern)
November - Cook’s Petrel - this sighting was particularly disappointing as
this is the fourth Port Fairy record, all of which have occurred when I was
not on the trip. As well, we saw 4 Pacific Gulls on Lady Julia Percy
Island (which is quite unusual, as they are usually near Port Fairy with
Kelp Gulls resident on the Island) and 18 Australian Shelducks several
kilometres from shore.
The common pelagic bird species
>From Port Fairy, the common birds seen on nearly all trips are Little
Penguin, Great-winged Petrel, Short-tailed and Fluttering Shearwaters, Shy,
Black-browed and Yellow-nosed Albatrosses, Australasian Gannet, Black-faced
Cormorant, Silver, Pacific and Kelp Gulls and Crested Tern.
2006 seasonal variation
The regular species on summer trips in 2006 were Common Diving-Petrel,
Northern Giant-Petrel, Fairy Prion, White-chinned Petrel, Flesh-footed,
Sooty and Hutton’s Shearwaters, Wandering and Buller’s Albatrosses,
Wilson’s, White-faced and Grey-backed Storm-Petrels and Arctic Jaeger.
Autumn regulars were White-chinned Petrel, Fairy Prion, Flesh-footed, Sooty
and Hutton’s Shearwaters, Wandering and Buller’s Albatrosses, Wilson’s,
White-faced and Grey-backed Storm-Petrels and Pomarine and Arctic Jaegers.
In winter, the regulars were Common Diving-Petrel, Cape Petrel, Southern
and Northern Giant-Petrels, Fairy Prion, Sooty and Hutton’s Shearwaters,
Wandering Albatross, Wilson’s, White-faced and Grey-backed Storm-Petrels,
Great Skua and White-fronted Tern.
Regular spring birds were Common Diving-Petrel, Northern and Southern
Giant-Petrels, Cape and White-chinned Petrels, Fairy Prion, Sooty
Shearwater, Wandering Albatross and Wilson’s, White-faced and Grey-backed
In this seasonal context, “regular” only means that the species was
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 Sooty Shearwater and Great Skua, where only one or two
birds were observed on each occasion.
It was a very quiet year for cetaceans this year. The only non-birding
highlight from Port Fairy was a Blue Whale in February. As well, we saw
the normal Common and Bottle-nosed Dolphins and the Australian Fur Seals.
A BIRDS AUSTRALIA OFFICIAL ACTIVITY
The Victorian Pelagic from Port Fairy is an official Birds Australia -
Victoria outing. This group continues to support our trip in many ways and
has our thanks.
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