Here is the report for how the BA-Vic Port Fairy Pelagics went for 2005.
Please note that the 2006, 2007 and 2008 trips reports that I have recently
posted were actually for Port Fairy trips, We moved back to Portland from
Port Fairy in 2009.
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 2005
By Chris Lester
VICTORIAN PELAGIC BIRDING IN 2005
Trips in 2005 – an excellent year
In 2005, nine boat trips were held, which equals the record from Port Fairy
in 2003. It continues a trend from 2002 with an above average number of
trips per year. Winter was more productive than recently with two trips,
returning to the longer-term pattern from before 2002. Spring remained
exceptional with all three trips getting out. The summer trips keep
producing very rare seabirds.
It was a good year for rare seabirds. The 2005 highlights were:
February - White-headed Petrel and Little Shearwater. The rare birds got
off to an extraordinary start for the year with an Atlantic Petrel,
accepted by BARC as the first confirmed record for Australia.
March - (Northern) Royal and Buller’s Albatrosses, the Salvin’s race of Shy
Albatross and Great Skua.
May - Slender-billed, Antarctic and Salvin’s Prions, Sooty Albatross, Great
Skua and White-fronted Tern.
June - Slender-billed and Antarctic Prions and (Northern) Royal Albatross.
There were no shearwaters recorded at all.
July - Slender-billed and Antarctic and Salvin’s Prions and (Northern)
Royal Albatross. An unusual tern, that remains unidentified, appeared
behind the boat and was well photographed. It was initially identified as
an Arctic Tern but this ID was quickly withdrawn. Currently, Common,
Antarctic, South American and Kerguelen Terns are considered possible
candidates. Hopefully, identification will be concluded soon. For the
second successive month, there were no shearwater species recorded.
September - Buller’s Albatross, Slender-billed Prion and Great Skua.
Unusually, there were no storm-petrels recorded.
October - Southern Fulmar, (Northern) Royal Albatross and Arctic Tern. As
in October 2004, the number of Short-tailed Shearwaters on this trip was
amazing. This time, we estimated more than half a million.
November - Sooty Albatross. There were no storm-petrels recorded at all,
December – Northern Giant-Petrel, White-headed and Cook’s Petrels (the
latter the third record for Victoria) and (Southern) Royal Albatross.
There was a hastily organised, unofficial follow-up trip in February, four
days after the official trip that found the Atlantic Petrel. It did not
relocate that petrel, but found some good birds, such as White-headed and
Soft-plumaged Petrels, and Blue Whale.
2005 seasonal variation
The regular species on summer trips 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.
Autumn regulars were Common Diving-Petrel, Southern and Northern
Giant-Petrels, White-chinned Petrel, Fairy Prion, Flesh-footed and Hutton’s
Shearwaters, Wandering Albatross, Wilson’s and White-faced Storm-Petrels
and Pomarine and Arctic Jaegers.
In winter, the regulars were Common Diving-Petrel, Cape Petrel, Southern
and Northern Giant-Petrels, Fairy Prion, Wandering Albatross, Wilson’s 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, Flesh-footed,
Sooty and Hutton’s Shearwaters, Wandering Albatross, Wilson’s and
White-faced Storm-Petrels and Pomarine and Arctic Jaegers.
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 Hutton’s Shearwater and Great Skua, where only one or
two birds were observed on each occasion.
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.
Besides the normal Common and Bottle-nosed Dolphins and the Australian Fur
Seals, it was fairly quiet for cetaceans this year. The non-birding
highlights from Port Fairy were 2 Sperm Whales in September and 1 in
A BIRDS AUSTRALIA OFFICIAL ACTIVITY
Birds Australia - Victoria continues to support our trip in many ways and
has our thanks.
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