BirdLife Victoria Pelagic off Portland, Victoria, 11 December 2016
Participants: Scott Baker, Stuart Dashper, Jono Dashper, John Goldie,
Tracey-Ann Hooley, Rosemary Lester, Danielle Senyschyn, Matthew
Walter, Chris Lester (organiser).
Crew: Kevin and Nick.
Activity: Departed Portland Harbour aboard the Timaru at 7.25 and headed
southwest towards the shelf. Stopped quite a bit past the shelf for our
first stop at 38 degrees 46.411 minutes, 141 degrees 22.863 minutes in
1,000 fathoms of water where we stayed from 10.00 until 11.30. We moved to
the west to our second stop at 38 42.900, 141 18.063 in 750 fathoms and
stayed there from 12.00 until 13.00. Then, we moved to the north-east to
our third stop at 38 41.297, 141 22.369 in 360 fathoms and stayed there
between 13.30 and 14.15. We returned via Lawrence Rocks, arriving at
Portland Harbour at 16.45.
Conditions: Initially, it was fine and occasionally sunny with about 70%
cloud. It gradually cleared during the day with the cloud cover at 30% at
noon and 10% at 13.30. At the end, there was virtually no cloud. At the
first stop, there was a light breeze of about 5 knots from the southeast
with a swell of about 2.0 m and pretty much no sea. It stayed that way
until the end of the day with the wind ending up from the northeast. So, it
was a very pleasant trip from a weather viewpoint.
Summary: A pretty good day with 23 seabird species. The bird highlights
were the GOULD'S PETREL, the WHITE-HEADED PETRELS and the NORTHERN ROYAL
Common Dolphin: small groups on the way out.
Australian Fur Seal: the normal number (around 20) loafing at Lawrence
(Total number of birds with the maximum seen at one time in brackets)
Wilson's Storm-Petrel 2 (1). Pelagic
White-faced Storm-Petrel: 5 (3). Pelagic.
Wandering Albatross 1. Pelagic at the first stop.
Antipodean Albatross 4 (3). Pelagic at stops 1 and 2.
NORTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS: 1. Pelagic at the first stop.
Black-browed Albatross: 10 (5). All pelagic with about 5 adults and 5
Shy Albatross: 100 (30). All pelagic.
Yellow-nosed Albatross: 3 (1). All pelagic and all juvenile.
Northern Giant-Petrel: 1. On the way back in approaching Lawrence Rocks.
White-chinned Petrel: 30 (10). All pelagic.
Flesh-footed Shearwater: 2 (1). Pelagic.
Sooty Shearwater: 1. On the way out approaching the shelf.
Short-tailed Shearwater: 30 (10). On the way out and in. Only a small
number at the shelf.
WHITE-HEADED PETREL: 8 (5). At all three stops with 2 at the first stop, 1
at the second and 5 at the third.
Great-winged Petrel: 3 (2). Pelagic at the second stop.
Grey-faced Petrel: 100 (30). Pelagic. Very numerous most in heavy moult.
GOULD'S Petrel: 1. At the second stop.
Australasian Gannet: Several thousand, mostly on Lawrence Rocks with small
numbers on the way out and in and 6 pelagic.
Black-faced Cormorant: 75. More than 70 at Lawrence Rocks with a small
number between there and Portland Harbour.
Arctic Jaeger: 1. At the second stop.
Jaeger sp.: On the way out.
Crested Tern: 26. About 20 at or near Lawrence Rocks with 6 pelagic.
Kelp Gull: 1 at Portland Harbour on the way in.
Silver Gull: 30. Nearly all at or near Lawrence Rocks with a few between
there and Portland Harbour.
There were also 2 Black Swans near Portland Harbour on the way in, 2 Great
Cormorants and 2 Common Sandpipers in the Harbour and 1 White-bellied
Sea-Eagle, 1 Sooty Oystercatcher and 1 Welcome Swallows at Lawrence Rocks.
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
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