Eaglehawk Pelagic Trip Report – December 10th, 2016
Ruth Brozek, Karen Dick, Norton Gill, Rob Hamilton, Mona Loofs-Samorzewski,
Alan Pilkington, Wendy Pilkington, Nicole Sommer, Peter Vaughan, Els
Wakefield, Ray Wilson, and Paul Brooks (organiser and report compiler)
The Pauletta, skippered by John Males, with deckhand Michael Males.
A fairly quiet trip in terms of number and diversity of species, with no
*Pterodroma* spp. recorded (apart from a very distant, unidentified bird
seen by a couple of observers). The highlight was a lovely immature
Wandering Albatross and a pod of Long-finned Pilot Whales, the second pod
seen off Eaglehawk in the last month.
Left Pirates Bay at 0700 hrs and headed down to circumnavigate the
Hippolyte before striking east to the shelf-break to berley over 295
fathoms at 0905 hrs. We drifted NE to 470 fathoms at 1000 hrs before
heading part of the way back up our slick to start a new drift over 380
fathoms at 1010 hrs. We drifted out to 500 fathoms by 1040 hrs before
heading east to start drifting again over 620 fathoms at 1050 hrs. We
drifted out to 740 fathoms by 1215 hrs, then headed back in to the
shelf-break to berley again over 95 fathoms for 25 mins before heading back
to port to dock at 1455 hrs.
Left port with high, thin cloud and a variable westerly gusting up to 20
kn. The south-westerly swell was low with little sea even in the gusty
breeze. Towards the Hippolyte, the swell increased to 2 metres + and the
sun made an appearance. Out wide, the swell increased to 2.5-3 metres and
the seas started to reach 1 metre. The cloud frequently blocked the sun
and it became quite choppy from 1100 hrs, causing us to motor around in
wide arcs to even out the bumps. Things settled down to be almost calm at
our last stop, until we reached the Hippolyte on our way back to port,
where a fierce north-westerly ripped in with gusts up to 25 kn. Water
temperature 14.6 deg C inshore, dropping to 14.2 deg C out wide. None
Long-finned Pilot Whale: 10 (6) A pod cruised by the bow at our third stop.
Oceanic Bottlenose Dolphin: 7 (7) In the same vicinity as pilot whales.
Short-beaked Common Dolphin: 10 (10) Inshore in the morning.
Australian/New Zealand Fur Seal: c. 30 (c. 25) On and around The Hippolyte.
Birds (IOC v 6.3 – max at one time in brackets):
Wilson’s Storm Petrel: 5 (4) Four hanging around the slick in pelagic
waters and another bird sighted just inside the shelf-break as we motored
White-faced Storm Petrel: 1 Generally keeping its distance down the slick;
we motored back up the slick a short way to get closer views for some
observers who hadn’t seen this species before.
Grey-backed Storm Petrel: 3 (2) Pelagic.
Wandering Albatross: 1 A beautiful immature bird gave close views at our
Antipodean Albatross: 1 An adult male *gibsoni* in pelagic waters.
Southern Royal Albatross: 1 A juvenile bird appeared briefly at the stern
just inside the shelf as we motored for port.
Black-browed Albatross: 1 An immature in pelagic waters.
Campbell Albatross: 1 An adult in pelagic waters.
Shy Albatross: c. 30 (16) 1 inshore in the morning; 5 offshore in the
morning; remainder pelagic. Mainly adult with one juvenile.
Northern Giant Petrel: 1 An immature bird in pelagic waters.
Fairy Prion: 10 (6) All pelagic.
White-chinned Petrel: c. 20 (12) All pelagic.
*Pterodroma* sp. 1 A single bird observed in the distance by a couple of
observers in pelagic waters.
Sooty Shearwater: 4 (1) One bird offshore, remainder pelagic.
Short-tailed Shearwater: c. 3000 (c. 1000) c. 600 offshore in the morning;
a raft of c. 1000 at the shelf-break; remainder pelagic.
Common Diving Petrel: 1 bird in pelagic waters.
Black-faced Cormorant: c. 360 (c. 300) 21 inshore in the morning; c. 330 on
the Hippolytes; 3 offshore in the afternoon.
Australasian Gannet: c. 50 (c. 30) 13 inshore in the morning; c. 35 on the
Hippolytes; 2 offshore in the morning; 1 pelagic.
Sooty Oystercatcher: 2 inshore in the morning, seen by a few observers.
Silver Gull: c. 40 (c. 20) 3 inshore in the morning; c. 30 at the
Hippolyte; 3 offshore in the afternoon which followed us out beyond the
Pacific Gull: 1 adult on the Hippolyte.
Kelp Gull: c. 70 (c. 30) c. 70 inshore in the morning, including c. 50
around the Hippolytes; 1 offshore in the morning.
Greater Crested Tern: c. 320 (c. 300) 4 inshore in the morning; c. 300
roosting on the Hippolyte; 3 offshore in the morning; remainder pelagic.
Forest Raven: 1 on the cliffs outside Pirates Bay in the morning.
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