Eaglehawk Pelagic Trip Report - January 14th, 2018
Ruth Brozek, Martin Cake, Karen Dick, Darryl Eggins, Mona
Loofs-Samorzewski, Bruce Richardson, Robert Shore, Nicole Sommer, Ashley
Thomson, Els Wakefield and Paul Brooks (organiser and report compiler)
The Pauletta, skippered by John Males, with deckhand Hugh Smith.
There was an out-of-season weather event in the days leading up to the trip
which saw below average temperatures, thunderstorms and falls of snow and
hail over parts of Tasmania. Winds were still strong and from the south
for the trip and the birds were up and about. We were exhilarated to
record Australia’s second or third occurrence of Juan Fernandez Petrel and
were not even sure of the species until we went to the books. We also had
4 Black-bellied Storm Petrel, a Flesh-footed Shearwater (an uncommon bird
in Tasmania) and average views of a Little-type Shearwater, along with
triple figures of storm petrels in the slick and dozens of albatross.
Left port at 0715 hrs and headed straight down to the Hippolytes. After
cruising by the northern side to photograph the gannet colony, we headed
south-east to the shelf-break, pulling up over 255 fathoms at 0920 hrs to
berley. We drifted a long way west and north, out to 600 fathoms, before
heading back to port at 1250 hrs to dock at around 1450 hrs.
Skies were overcast and conditions calm in Pirates Bay when we departed but
the wind picked up as we rounded the heads and seas were around 1 metre on
a 1 metre swell. Offshore, the south-westerly got up to 15-20 knots with 2
m seas on a 1.5 m swell, making for a choppy ride with some spray. Out
wide the south-westerly was 20-25 knots, occasionally reaching 30 knots,
with some waves to 3 m. Viewing conditions were variable; mainly cloudy to
varying degrees with occasional bright sunshine. As we got into offshore
waters on the way back to port, the wind dropped back to 10-15 knots. Water
temperature was 17.3 deg C out wide, rising to 17.8 deg C out wide,
apparently nearly 1 deg C cooler than the day before. One mildly seasick.
Short-beaked Common Dolphin: c. 20 (c. 20) Inshore in the morning.
Australian/New Zealand Fur Seal: 9 (4) On Cheverton Rock and the Hippolytes.
Shortfin Mako Shark: 3 (1) All pelagic.
Birds (IOC v 7.3 – max at one time in brackets):
Wilson’s Storm Petrel: c. 20 (10) Pelagic.
Grey-backed Storm Petrel: c. 12 (5) Pelagic.
White-faced Storm Petrel: c. 180 (c. 140) Mainly pelagic with a single bird
over 55 fathoms in the afternoon.
BLACK-BELLIED STORM PETREL: 4 (1) All pelagic. Separated on extent and
pattern of black plumage in belly (from photographs).
Wandering Albatross: 1 A second year immature in pelagic waters.
Antipodean Albatross: 10 (2) All *gibsoni*. 5 adult males, 2 probable
adult females, 2 probable immature/adult females and a probable immature
male. 1 adult female offshore in the morning, remainder pelagic with a
couple of birds following us in to around 70 fathoms in the afternoon.
Southern Royal Albatross: 6 (2) All pelagic. 1 adult, 2 immatures and 3
Royal-type Albatross: 1 A bird photographed by Robert Shore but not noted
otherwise showed extensive carpal marks on the underwing, suggestive of
Northern Royal Albatross.
Black-browed type Albatross: 2 (1) 1 immature offshore in the morning; 1
Shy Albatross: c. 80 (c. 40) 1 inshore in the morning; 9 offshore in the
morning; remainder pelagic.
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross: 1 pelagic.
Buller’s Albatross: 3 (1) 2 pelagic, 1 joined us offshore in the afternoon
as we headed for port.
Northern Giant Petrel: 2 (2) Both immatures in pelagic waters.
Fairy Prion: c. 20 (7) 6 offshore in the morning, remainder pelagic.
WHITE-HEADED PETREL: 2 (1) Both gave brief fly-bys in pelagic waters.
PROVIDENCE PETREL: 2 (1) Both gave brief fly-bys in pelagic waters.
JUAN FERNANDEZ PETREL: 1 Gave two brief but close passes in pelagic waters.
Initially called as a White-necked Petrel on jizz but lack of white collar
quickly noted; small, dark carpal marks in underwing noted
material was required to ascertain the species as nobody on board had any
prior experience with the bird. First record for Tasmania and first
photographic record for Australia. BARC submission in preparation.
White-chinned Petrel: 12 (12) All pelagic.
Sooty Shearwater: 5 (3) All pelagic.
Short-tailed Shearwater: c. 4,000 (c. 500) c. 300 north of the Hippolytes
in the morning; c. 1,200 offshore in the morning; c. 900 pelagic; remainder
offshore in the afternoon.
FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER: 1 Appeared at the stern and foraged in the slick
for a short time before flying away.
Fluttering Shearwater: 1 Offshore in the morning.
Hutton’s Shearwater: 3 (1) 1 offshore in the morning; 1 pelagic; 1 offshore
in the afternoon.
Fluttering-type Shearwater: 4 (1) 2 inshore in the morning; 2 pelagic.
LITTLE-Type SHEARWATER: 1 Flew by the boat at distance not long after we
passed the Hippolytes. Not seen well enough to rule out Sub-Antarctic
Shearwater but a very poor photo suggests the bird had a white face, which
would favour Little Shearwater.
Black-faced Cormorant: c. 210 (c. 150) c. 210 inshore and on the Hippolytes
in the morning.
Australasian Gannet: c. 45 (c. 35) c. 45 inshore and on the Hippolytes in
the morning. No nesting activity noted at the top colony.
Silver Gull: c. 95 (c. 80) c. 95 inshore and on The Hippolytes in the
morning; 1 offshore in the morning; 1 offshore in the afternoon.
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. 60) c. 150 inshore and on the Hippolytes in the
Greater Crested Tern: 4 (3) 4 inshore in the morning.
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