Eaglehawk Pelagic Trip Report, Dec 10th 2017

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Eaglehawk Pelagic Trip Report, Dec 10th 2017
From: Paul Brooks <>
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 2017 00:02:50 +0000
Eaglehawk Pelagic Trip Report-  December 10th, 2017


Karen Dick, Mona Loofs-Samorzewski, Lauren Roman, Annie Thain, George
Vaughan, Michael Vaughan, Els Wakefield and Paul Brooks (Inala guide)


The Pauletta, skippered by John Males, with deckhand Hugh Smith.


We were interested to see if any of the Mottled Petrels and Cookilarias
that had been seen in such high numbers the previous month were still
around; they weren’t, but we still had views of a couple of Cookilarias and
were graced with two long-staying Northern Royal Albatross amongst a range
of Southern Royal and Gibson’s Albatross.  We also paid particular
attention to the gannet colony on the Hippolytes and noted birds nesting in
two separate locations; this is the second season running that birds have
bred here, after we recorded gannets breeding at the site for the first
time last season.


Left port at 0715 hrs and headed straight down to the Hippolytes.  After
circumnavigating The Hippolytes and stopping to photograph the gannet
colony, we headed south-east to the shelf-break, pulling up over 255
fathoms at 0920 hrs.  We drifted west out to 515 fathoms until 1245 hrs,
when we cruised back up the slick before heading back to port via the
Hippolytes, with another look at the gannet colony, to dock at around 1455


There was a strong north-westerly in Pirates Bay when we departed but the
wind dropped right out around the corner and there was no sea and just a
low swell.  Skies were clear to the north and cloudy to the south.
Offshore, the wind swung to the north-west and picked up to around 10 knots
and the swell got up to around 1.5 m at the 70 fathom mark; from 0900 hrs,
the wind swung back to the south-west at 10-15 knots and we had 1 m seas on
a 2.5 m swell.  Out wide conditions became mainly sunny with the wind
fluctuating from 10-15 knots, occasionally up to 20 knots for brief
periods; it swung around south-easterly just before midday.  The swell was
around 2 m with seas of 1-1.5 m.  Water temperature was 15.5 deg C inshore,
rising to 17.2 deg C out wide.  One seasick but very happy.


Short-beaked Common Dolphin: c. 15 (c. 15) Inshore in the afternoon.

Common Bottlenose Dolphin: c. 20 (c. 20) Offshore in the morning.

Australian/New Zealand Fur Seal: 5 (5) On the Hippolytes.


Bumblebee: 3 (1) 1 inshore, 1 offshore and 1 pelagic.

Birds (IOC v 7.3 – max at one time in brackets):

Wilson’s Storm Petrel: 14 (14) Pelagic.

Grey-backed Storm Petrel: 6 (6) Pelagic.

White-faced Storm Petrel: 6 (6) Pelagic.

Antipodean Albatross: 2 (1) 2 adult males in pelagic waters – both *gibsoni*

Southern Royal Albatross: 4 (2) 3 immatures and a juvenile which was first
sighted briefly inshore over about 65 fathoms in the morning and re-joined
us after we began berleying over deep water.  The bird was recognisable due
to a conspicuous loose feather on the upperwing.

NORTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS: 2 (2) Both stayed with the boat for a prolonged
period in pelagic waters, often sitting on the water quite close to the
boat.  One bird, an immature, was sporting bands – a metal band on the
right leg and a blue plastic band on the left.  We couldn’t make out any
markings on either band.

Black-browed Albatross: 2 (1) adult offshore in the morning; 1 sub-adult in
pelagic waters.

Black-browed type Albatross: 2 (1) 2 juveniles in pelagic waters.  One
appeared to have some lightening of the eye but perhaps too early to say if
it was a Campbell Albatross.

Campbell Albatross: 1 sub-adult in pelagic waters.

Shy Albatross: c. 26 (16) 1 inshore in the morning; 9 offshore in the
morning; remainder pelagic.

Buller’s Albatross: 1 (1) Inshore in the afternoon.

Northern Giant Petrel: 1 immature in pelagic waters.

Fairy Prion: 7 (3) All in pelagic waters.

Grey-faced Petrel: 1 pelagic.

PROVIDENCE PETREL: 2 (1) Both pelagic.

GOULD’S PETREL: 1 gave a brief fly-by in pelagic waters.

COOK’S PETREL: 1 gave a brief fly-by in pelagic waters.

White-chinned Petrel: 14 (11) 3 offshore in the morning; remainder pelagic.

Sooty Shearwater: 1 pelagic.

Short-tailed Shearwater: c. 5,450 (c. 1,000) 1 near The Hippolytes in the
morning; c. 850 offshore in the morning; c. 4,600 pelagic.

Hutton’s Shearwater: 4 (1) 2 pelagic; 2 offshore in the afternoon.

Fluttering-type Shearwater: 5 (1) 1 inshore in the morning; 1 pelagic; 3
offshore in the afternoon.

Black-faced Cormorant: c. 470 (1) c. 470 inshore and on The Hippolytes in
the morning; 3 offshore in the morning.

Australasian Gannet: c. 60 (c. 35) 10 inshore in the morning; c. 50 at two
different sites on The Hippolytes.  Both sites had at least two nests with
birds sitting.  A recently deceased bird was encountered floating not far
from the mouth of Pirates Bay in the afternoon.  It was retrieved and
examined and found to have a trauma to the neck, the likely cause of
death.  The trauma was speculated to have been caused by either a poorly
executed dive or a collision with another bird during a dive.  The bird was
delivered to the TMAG.

White-bellied Sea Eagle: 2 (2) A male and female flying to a perch on The
Hippolytes in the morning.

Silver Gull: c. 125 (c. 80) c. 120 inshore and on The Hippolytes in the
morning; 2 offshore in the morning; 3 pelagic.  One bird showed a greatly
reduced mirror in P8, which suggests it may have originated from a
non-Tasmanian population.

Pacific Gull: 3 (2) 2 adults on a rock shelf outside Pirates Bay in the
morning and an adult on The Hippolytes in the morning.

Kelp Gull: c. 150 (c. 80) c. 150 inshore and on The Hippolytes in the
morning; 1 pelagic.

Greater Crested Tern: 7 (2) 4 inshore in the morning; 1 offshore in the
morning; 2 offshore in the afternoon.

Tree Martin: 2 (2) Near The Blowhole in the morning.

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