Eaglehawk Pelagic Trip Report, Sep 2nd 2018

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Eaglehawk Pelagic Trip Report, Sep 2nd 2018
From: Paul Brooks <>
Date: Wed, 19 Sep 2018 16:49:22 +1000

Donna Belder, Ruth Brozek, Helen Cunningham, Karen Dick, Daryl Gardner,
Russell Gardner, Rob Hamilton, Mona Loofs-Samorzewski, Carolyn Upston,
Michael Vaughan, George Vaughan and Paul Brooks (organiser and report


The Pauletta, skippered by John Males, with deckhand Michael Males.


The tail end of a strong south-westerly airstream that hit the state the
previous day was still passing by and again it was touch and go if the trip
would reach the shelf-break, as high seas were forecast.  As with the day
before, John Males did a sterling job in getting us through the maelstrom
and it was well worth it, as we saw our first Blue Petrel well before the
drop-off and went on to see 4 more throughout the trip.  The first bird was
a lifer for many on board and a highlight of what was a great day at sea.
A cracking immature Northern Royal Albatross spent most of the day with us
and we also had good views of 3 Grey Petrel and 6 White-headed Petrel.


Left port at 0710 hrs and headed straight down to the Hippolytes, scooting
by the rocks before heading east to the shelf break, pulling up over just
85 fathoms as our first Blue Petrel of the day appeared in our wake. We
trolled out to the shelf-break from here, eventually reaching the drop-off
at 0940, pulling up over about 170 fathoms.  We drifted north-easterly out
to 350 fathoms at 1220, completing a looping run back up our slick before
heading straight back to port, docking at 1445 hrs.


It was mainly cloudy with some rain in Pirates Bay before we set out.  Past
the heads, the south-westerly breeze sat at 5-10 knots with the swell under
1.5 m.  As we approached the Hippolyte, a gusty south-westerly up to 30
knots kicked in and the south-westerly swell rose, reaching 4-5 metres the
further out we went, thankfully with a long period.  The wind whipped the
seas up to 1.5-2 m and, like the day before, a couple of birders were
spilled to the deck.  Around 1000 hrs, the wind dropped back to around 15
knots and the sea calmed a bit, but the swell remained high throughout.
From around 1145 hrs, the wind picked back up to 20-25 knots and we got a
bit of rain.  The trip back to port was a rock ‘n’ roll kind of affair in
the large cross-swell.  Water temperature was 12.3 deg C inshore, rising to
13.0 deg C out wide.  Nobody was overtly seasick despite the lively


Short-beaked Common Dolphin: 4 (4) Inshore in the afternoon.

Birds (IOC v 8.1 – max at one time in brackets):

Grey-backed Storm Petrel: 2 (2) Pelagic.

White-faced Storm Petrel: 1 Pelagic.

Southern Royal Albatross: 3 (1) 2 young immatures and an older immature in
pelagic waters.

NORTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS: 1 An immature bird stayed with the boat for an
extended period, giving excellent views, in pelagic water.

Black-browed Albatross: 2 (2) Adults in pelagic waters.

Campbell Albatross: 1 adult in pelagic waters.

Shy Albatross: c. 40 (22) 3 inshore in the morning; 2 offshore in the
morning; remainder pelagic.  Mainly adults with a couple of immature birds
and 1 juvenile – the dark hood extending right onto the face made it look a
good contender for *steadi*.

Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross: 4 (2) All pelagic.

Buller’s Albatross: 2 (1) 1 pelagic; 1 offshore in the afternoon.

Northern Giant Petrel: 2 (1) 1 immature in pelagic water; 1 immature
offshore in the afternoon.

Cape Petrel: 1 bird of the nominate race in pelagic water.

BLUE PETREL: 5 (2) The first bird appeared in our wake over just 85
fathoms.  Several more birds appeared throughout the day but rarely
approached closely and didn’t seem very interested in the slick.

Fairy Prion: 4 (1) 3 offshore in the morning; 1 pelagic.

Great-winged Petrel: 14 (6) All pelagic.

WHITE-HEADED PETREL: 6 (1) 1 offshore in the morning; 5 pelagic.  A couple
of birds did several laps of the boat, giving nice views.

Grey-faced Petrel: 1 Pelagic.

Pterodroma sp.: 1 bird seen at distance in pelagic water was a
White-headed/Soft-plumaged Petrel.

GREY PETREL: 3 (1) All birds gave decent views in pelagic water.

Sooty Shearwater: 4 (4) All pelagic.

Flutton’s Shearwater: 1 in pelagic water.

Common Diving Petrel: 5 (1) 3 offshore in the morning; 2 pelagic.

Black-faced Cormorant: 1 inshore in the morning.

Australasian Gannet: 11 (1) 9 inshore in the morning; 1 offshore in the
morning; 1 pelagic.

Silver Gull: 9 (3) 9 inshore in the morning.

Pacific Gull: 1 inshore in the morning.

Kelp Gull: c. 70 (c. 30) c. 70 inshore in the morning; 3 offshore in the

Greater Crested Tern: 13 (5) 2 inshore in the morning; 1 offshore in the
morning; 10 pelagic.

White-fronted Tern: 2 (1) Both pelagic.

Sterna sp.: 1 seen well off the stern just as we headed back to port too
distant to identify.

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