Eaglehawk Pelagic Trip Report - October 14th, 2018

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Eaglehawk Pelagic Trip Report - October 14th, 2018
From: Paul Brooks <>
Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2018 10:45:44 +1100


Allan Benson, Ruth Brozek, Chris Darby, Michael Duffy, Chris Escott, Andi Magnussen, Chris Sanderson, Peter Vaughan and Paul Brooks (Inala guide and report compiler)



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



This was an action-packed trip, with good numbers of birds all day and high diversity of species.  We recorded 7 taxa of albatross before we’d even reached the shelf-break and many of these birds followed the boat until we stopped in deeper water and stuck with us throughout the day.  The highlight was a Blue Petrel, a first October record for Eaglehawk pelagics, that provided extremely close views as it fed in the slick right at the stern, even following us right back in to around 55 fathoms as we headed for home.  Many other birds followed us a considerable distance inshore as well; it was an unusual sight to see Wandering, Gibson’s, Southern Royal and Northern Royal in the wake within thirty minutes of reaching port.  We had two other birds which were first October records for Eaglehawk: a rather brief showing of a young Light-mantled Albatross and a very early Mottled Petrel which shot past in typical fashion.



Left port at 0710 hrs and headed east to the shelf-break, pulling up over 130 fathoms. We were drifting rapidly back into the shelf so, after motoring back to our starting point the first time, we went further out, to 250 fathoms, the second time.  We began to drift a little slower and more southerly from ~1100 hrs and stayed on this drift until heading straight back to port at 1245 hrs, with a stop over 65 fathoms for a Brown Skua, docking at 1445 hrs.



It was mainly cloudy with rain threatening in Pirates Bay before we set out.  Past the heads, the 20-25 knot north-easterly was kicking seas up to 2 m in tight sets and it was a bumpy, wet ride to the shelf.  Out wide, the wind was more like 15-20 knots with some stronger gusts, but the waves were more widely spaced.  The sun began to break through the clouds and even though land was obscured by cloud and a couple of squalls passed inside of us, we had no rain.  Water temperature was 12.7 deg C inshore, rising to 13.5 deg C out wide.  One case of seasickness was immediately cured when the call of “Light-mantled Sooty!” went up.


Sharks: 1 A Shortfin Mako of around 4—5 feet cruised under the wanderers gathered behind the boat for over 10 minutes, giving a couple of birds a bit of a bump.


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

Wilson’s Storm Petrel: 17 (17) All pelagic apart from 1 bird just inside the shelf-break.


Grey-backed Storm Petrel: 1 Pelagic.


White-faced Storm Petrel: 2 (2) Pelagic.


Wandering Albatross: 13 (12) 1 immature offshore in the morning; 2 adult, including one very white bird, 9 immature and 1 juvenile in pelagic water.  May have been undercounted, there were several similar birds.


Antipodean Albatross: 8 (4) 1 adult male antipodensis offshore in the morning; 1 adult male gibsoni offshore in the morning; 6 gibsoni pelagic (4 adult males, 2 other).


Southern Royal Albatross: 8 (4) 2 juveniles, 2 young immatures and 2 older immatures and 2 adults in pelagic waters.


NORTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS: 2 (1) An adult and an immature in pelagic water; both birds gave excellent views and one followed us back well onto the shelf.


Royal Albatross sp.: 1 A distant bird with all dark upperwings seen offshore in the morning.


LIGHT-MANTLED ALBATROSS: 1 A young bird in pelagic water; approached to about 100 m before turning and heading the other way.


Black-browed Albatross: 2 (2) An adult and an immature in pelagic water.


Campbell Albatross: 14 (10) 3 immatures and 1 adult offshore in the morning; 7 immatures and 3 adults in pelagic water.


Shy Albatross: c. 50 (24) 3 inshore in the morning; 19 offshore in the morning; remainder pelagic.  Mainly adults with a couple of immature birds and 3 juveniles.


SALVIN’S ALBATROSS: 1 An adult gave close and extended views in pelagic water.


Buller’s Albatross: 4 (3) 1 offshore in the morning; 3 pelagic.  One bird had an odd white mantle and neck on one side of the body.


Southern Giant Petrel: 1 immature in pelagic water.


Northern Giant Petrel: 5 (4) 5 immatures in pelagic water.


Cape Petrel: 9 (6) 3 offshore in the morning; 6 pelagic.  All capense.


BLUE PETREL: 1 A very showy bird fed voraciously in the slick and stayed with the boat for a long period, eventually following us all the way in to ~55 fathoms.


Fairy Prion: c. 50 (6) 19 inshore in the morning; 15 offshore in the morning; c. 15 pelagic.


Great-winged Petrel: 1 offshore (over 57 fathoms) in the afternoon.


WHITE-HEADED PETREL: 5 (1) 4 pelagic; 1 offshore in the afternoon.  A couple of birds gave good views but none hung around for long.


Grey-faced Petrel: 7 (1) 2 offshore in the morning; 5 pelagic.


MOTTLED PETREL: 1 Seen well but briefly as it shot past the stern and starboard side.  A very early record – first October record for Eaglehawk pelagics.


White-chinned Petrel: 10 (7) 3 offshore in the morning; 7 pelagic.


Procellaria sp. 1 A bird with dark ungues passed the boat on our way out to the shelf.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get a great look as we were being tossed about and the bird didn’t hang around.


Short-tailed Shearwater: c. 1,700 (c. 700) c. 1,200 inshore in the morning; c. 300 offshore in the morning; c. 200 pelagic.


Common Diving Petrel: 1 A single bird seen by one observer offshore in the afternoon.


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 adult inshore in the morning.


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


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


Brown Skua: 1 A bird sighted offshore in the afternoon over just 65 fathoms.  Passed the port side but turned to check us out briefly before heading further out to sea.



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