Here is the report for how the BA-Vic Port Fairy Pelagics went for 2004.
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 2004
By Chris Lester
VICTORIAN PELAGIC BIRDING IN 2004
Trips in 2004 – another good year
In 2004, the number of boat trips was above average, again, with eight
trips (with two trips completed in February). It was a bit unusual in that
none of the scheduled winter trips got out and two of the three spring
trips did get out. Although this was a similar pattern to last year,
historically winter trips get out from Port Fairy and spring trips are
The common pelagic bird species
The birds normally seen year round were, of course, very much in evidence
on most trips and usually were in good numbers. These were Little Penguin,
Great-winged Petrel, Fairy Prion, 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. In
lower or variable numbers, Common Diving-Petrel, Sooty Shearwater,
Wandering Albatross and Wilson’s, Grey-backed and White-faced Storm-Petrels
were still recorded on most trips.
2004 seasonal variation
The regular summer additions in 2004 were White-chinned Petrel and
Flesh-footed Shearwater. The autumn regulars that turned up were
White-chinned Petrel, Hutton’s Shearwater and Arctic Jaeger. In May, there
were early Cape Petrel and White-fronted Tern.
In winter, we didn’t get out. Regular spring birds that turned up were
Northern and Southern Giant-Petrels, Cape Petrel and Hutton’s Shearwater.
In September, there were late Great Skua and White-fronted Tern but, very
unusually, no Silver Gulls at all. Pomarine and Arctic Jaegers were
notable by their absence again.
It was a good year for rare seabirds. The 2004 highlights were:
February (1st trip) - White-headed, Soft-plumaged and Cook’s Petrels and
Royal (southern race) Albatross. A Caspian Tern was seen for possibly the
first time out of Port Fairy.
February (2nd trip) - Buller’s Albatrosses.
March - Buller’s Albatross and Gould’s Petrel.
April - White-headed and Gould’s Petrels and Buller’s and Royal (both
southern and northern races) Albatrosses.
May - Buller’s, Royal (northern race) and Sooty Albatrosses and Long-tailed
September – Blue Petrel and Royal (southern and northern races) and
October - Royal (southern and northern races) Albatross. The numbers of
Short-tailed Shearwaters on this trip were amazing – we estimated 100,000,
but the numbers could easily have approached one million.
December - Royal (southern and northern races) Albatross. A White-faced
Heron flying west at the shelf was very unusual.
The non-birding highlights from Port Fairy included – 5 Blue Whales on the
second February trip, 2 Blue Whales on the March trip along with an
Elephant Seal at Lady Julia Percy, a Sperm Whale on each of the October and
December trips and another (or the same) Elephant Seal at Lady Julia Percy.
A BIRDS AUSTRALIA OFFICIAL ACTIVITY
For many years, the Port Fairy pelagic has been associated with the Birds
Australia Victoria group, with members dominating the organising, leading
and participation in the outings, advertising in the Babbler and reports
appearing in various BA publications. This year, Birds Australia Victoria
formally adopted our pelagic trip as an official BA – Vic activity.
Consequently, we have made some adjustments to the way trips are organised.
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