Here's the first of two trip reports for a double header that got out
off Tassie a fortnight or so ago.
BirdLife Australia Pelagic off Eaglehawk Neck, Tasmania
Saturday 20th Feb 2018
OBSERVERS: Tim Bawden, Antonia Burwell, Chris Burwell, Jo Culican,
Maggie Grundler, Gina Hopkins, James Kennerley, Jodi Osgood, Glen Pacey,
Mike Potter, Richard Webber, Jim Wright & Rohan Clarke (report compiler).
WEATHER: Complete cloud cover in the AM, clearing for a few spots of
sunshine around 1130 before closing in again as we headed in, hence
mostly dull conditions for photography. Winds were generally light and a
bit variable – 5-10 knot SW in the AM dropping to 5 knots and swinging
round to the SE once we were over the shelf. Reasonably mild all day.
SEA: A flat sea on a 0.5 m swell out to the Hippolytes, building
slightly in offshore waters. Beyond the shelf we mostly experienced a
rather clean 1-2 m swell with little chop. No spray to speak of.
ACTIVITY: Departed Pirates Bay Wharf at 0715. Headed down to the
Hippolytes, which we circumnavigated, before taking an easterly route
directly to the shelf break. Reasonable numbers of birds on the way out
with early Buller’s Shearwater and Gould’s Petrel before the shelf to
raise expectations. Crossed the shelf break (100 fathoms) at 0920 before
making our first stop a couple of miles beyond the shelf over 350
fathoms of water were we berleyed for just over an hour. Later we moved
out to 650 fathoms for a second 1.5 hr berley session. Crossed back over
the shelf at 1310 and docked just before 1500.
MAMMALS (and other non-feathered things)
Australian Fur Seals: 20 on the Hippolytes. Also 1 inshore in the PM.
Common Dolphin: A small pod of 4 in inshore waters in the AM.
SUNFISH: 1 in offshore waters in the PM. Water temp was 18 C at this
Mako Shark: A big fish, estimated by the crew to be 200+ kg, cruised
around behind the boat at our impromptu stop for the Black-bellied Stormie.
BIRDS: 28 species of seabird beyond the point at Pirates Bay. Highlights
were Black-bellied Storm-Petrel, Buller's Shearwater, Gould’s and Cook’s
Petrels. A typical solid Tassie pelagic.
Wandering Albatross (exulens): 2 pelagic.
NZ Wandering Albatross (gibsoni): 1 pelagic.
Southern Royal Albatross 4 (2). All pelagic.
Black-browed Albatross: 1 juv pelagic.
Shy Albatross: 90 (40). cauta/steadi: 1 inshore, 22 offshore, remainder
pelagic, with good numbers following us back inshore on the return leg.
2 imm (both pelagic), remainder adult.
Buller’s Albatross: 10 (4). 1 inshore, 2 offshore, remainder pelagic.
Northern Giant-Petrel: 3 (1). 1 juv offshore in the AM, 2 imms pelagic.
Grey-backed Storm-Petrel: 3 (1). All pelagic.
White-faced Storm-Petrel: 100 (60). Just 1 offshore, remainder pelagic.
Wilson’s Storm-Petrel: 2 (1). Both pelagic.
BLACK-BELLIED STORM-PETREL: 1 pelagic picked in the wake whilst we were
underway and well worth a quick stop. An interesting bird with an
extensively black belly and active tail moult (see pic).
Fairy Prion: 67 (40). 12 offshore in the AM, 15 pelagic, then a flock of
~40 offshore in the PM.
Short-tailed Shearwater: 4000 (500). Mostly offshore, but 20 inshore and
Sooty Shearwater: 20 (2). 7 offshore, remainder pelagic.
Hutton’s Shearwater: 5 (1). 3 offshore in AM and another in the PM, 1
BULLER’S SHEARWATER: 9 (1). 4 offshore, 5 pelagic. Several close
White-chinned Petrel: 33 (12). Mostly pelagic but at least 10 followed
us back into offshore waters in the PM.
Grey-faced Petrel: 3 (1). All pelagic at the second berley stop.
White-headed Petrel: 3 (1). All pelagic. All quite distant.
GOULD’S PETREL: 12 (2). 10 pelagic, 1 offshore over 88 fathoms on the
way out and another offshore over 67 fathoms on the way back in.
COOK’S PETREL: 3 (1). All pelagic. Sadly all were rather distant.
Little Penguin: 5 (1). All inshore.
Australasian Gannet: 7 (2). 2 inshore in the AM, 5 inshore in the PM.
Another 20 on the Hipploytes.
Black-faced Cormorant: 25 (5). All inshore. Another 320 on the Hippolytes.
Crested Tern: 30 (10). All inshore.
Pacific Gull: 3 (1). All Ad inshore in the AM. Also 1 on the Hippolytes.
Kelp Gull: 20 (5). All inshore in the AM. Also about 100 on and around
Silver Gull: 20 (5). 19 inshore, 1 pelagic. Also about 100 on the
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