Eaglehawk Neck Pelagic Trip Report – 28th May 2017
Ruth Brozek, Karen Dick, Larissa Giddings, Ian Halliday Rob Hamilton, Andy
Jensen, Mona Loofs-Samorzewski (report compiler), Mark Sanders, Nicole Sommer,
Sue Taylor, Peter Vaughan, Els Wakefield. (Trip organised by Paul Brooks who
was unable to attend.)
The Pauletta, skippered by John Males, with deckhand Michael Males.
After a stand-out double-header the weekend before, and the previous day’s
pelagic turning up a Grey Petrel and Slender-billed Prion, hopes were high for
a great day’s birding on this trip. Unfortunately, the pelagic gods were not
smiling and the forecast winds did not eventuate, resulting in a fairly quiet
trip with no particularly unusual species. It was, of course, a wonderful day
out on the water despite such quibbles, with a slightly wet start easing into
more friendly conditions later in the day. The notable sightings were a double
raft of roughly 200 Fairy Prions and 7 different species of albatross,
including all 5 of the more common smaller albatross. As is not unusual on an
Eaglehawk Neck pelagic, more than half the participants were women. Sympathies
are extended to one of the participants who succumbed to seasickness.
Activity and conditions
We left Pirates Bay at 7:30 am and headed south under a heavy grey sky, light
spitting rain, light NNE breeze and a NNE swell with not much chop. We passed
Cheverton Rock and circled Hippolyte Rocks*, striking into offshore waters at
8:35 am. The swell increased slightly to 1.0 m, wind coming out of the NNE and
the weather was showery but not very cold. After motoring east for slightly
over an hour, we reached our first berley stop at 9:45 am, starting at 262
fathoms and drifting east to a depth of 400 fathoms. Water temperature was 14
°C and the swell was northerly. As we berleyed, the wind swung around to the
NNW, blowing at approx 10 kn and the rain stopped. At 11:26 am we moved north
and stopped to set our second berley trail at 11:50 am over 340 fathoms. The
wind shifted slightly more westerly and picked up to 15 kn and the swell
increased to 1.5 m, while we drifted southeast to a depth of 418 fathoms. At
12:55 pm we headed north back to port, with the weather improving to the point
where a bit of sun broke through the clouds as we docked around 2:50 pm.
Australian/New Zealand Fur Seal: 7 on Hippolyte Rocks.
Birds (IOC v 6.3 – max at one time in brackets):
Wilson’s Storm Petrel: 3 (2). All pelagic.
Antipodean Albatross: 2 (1). Two gibsoni, one at each berley stop.
Southern Royal Albatross: 2 (1). One very young bird causing confusion with
Northern Royal at first, second bird slightly older. Both pelagic.
Black-browed Albatross: 2 (1). Two immatures, pelagic.
Campbell Albatross: 1. One adult, pelagic.
Shy Albatross: c. 40 (35). Seven offshore, the remainder pelagic. Approximately
half were juvenile.
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross: 1. One adult in pelagic waters.
Buller’s Albatross: 8 (2). One inshore, 5 offshore and 2 pelagic.
Southern Giant Petrel: 1. One fresh juvenile in pelagic waters.
Northern Giant Petrel: 3 (2). Two sightings offshore (possibly the same bird),
2 pelagic, one very dark juvenile and one lighter bird approaching adulthood.
Cape Petrel: 19 (19). All pelagic, although a contingent followed us back into
offshore waters in the afternoon. More capense than australe.
Fairy Prion: c 250 (200). 10 offshore, 40 pelagic, and a double raft of
approximately 200 just before the second berley stop.
Great-winged Petrel: 3 (3). All pelagic.
White-chinned Petrel: 1. One brief view in pelagic waters.
Short-tailed Shearwater: c. 110 (100). 10 singles inshore, then a flock of
approx 100 on the horizon when offshore.
Common Diving Petrel: 2 (1). Pelagic.
White-faced Heron: 1. One on Hippolyte Rocks
Australasian Gannet: 3 (1). One inshore and 1 offshore in the morning, and 1
immature inshore in the afternoon.
Black-faced Cormorant: 14 (8). Inshore.
White-bellied Sea-eagle. 1. One adult on Hippolyte Rocks.
Silver Gull: 1. One inshore.
Pacific Gull: 4 (2). One adult and 1 juvenile inshore, 2 on Hippolyte Rocks.
Kelp Gull: 5 (1). All inshore.
Greater Crested Tern: 7 (1). One inshore, 1 offshore, 4 at the first berley
stop, and 1 inshore in the afternoon.
* According to the Land Information System Tasmania, the larger of the two
rocks is named Hippolyte Rocks (consisting of one very large and two tiny
rocks), while the smaller rock to the north is called Cheverton Rock.
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