Eaglehawk Neck pelagic trip report 3rd March 2019

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Subject: Eaglehawk Neck pelagic trip report 3rd March 2019
From: Mona Loofs-Samorzewski <>
Date: Sun, 10 Mar 2019 14:00:59 +1100

Eaglehawk Pelagic Trip Report – 3rd March 2019


Ruth Brozek, Helen Cunningham, Karen Dick, Darryl Eggins, Sonja Frei, Mona Loofs-Samorzewski (report compiler), Lauren Roman, Richard Taylor, Carolyn Upston and Els Wakefield. Paul Brooks, the trip organiser, was unable to attend, with Karen and Els in charge of the trip on the day.


The Pauletta, skippered by John Males, with deckhand Adam Mackintosh.


Quite a rough and choppy day, with the changeable winds and rainy, gloomy skies making for difficult viewing conditions. Diversity was low, with only 20 species seen over the course of the day and, unusually for an Eaglehawk pelagic, there were no great Albatross. Disappointingly, the Brown Booby sighted on the previous day was not relocated. The only highlight was one brief view of a Soft-plumaged Petrel at the second berley stop.

Activity and conditions:

We gathered at port with a reduced boat-load due to the late withdrawal of two participants after yesterday’s pelagic. Weather was mild, humid and cloudy with no wind when we left port at 0705. In response to the Brown Booby sighting on the previous day, we headed straight south with the intention of checking out Cape Huay where the only previous sighting in 2011 had occurred. There was a low NE swell of approx 1 m, which increased at times to 2 m, a gentle ESE wind, and light rain started to fall. The presence of fog and sea mist from Fortescue Bay south made visibility difficult, so we thoroughly checked the birds on Cheverton Rock and The Hippolytes instead of motoring further south.

Once past The Hippolytes at 0816 we set our course slightly north of east, experiencing intermittent rain, continuing light ESE winds and ENE swell of up to 2 m. We arrived at the shelf break at 0923 for our first berley over 290 fathoms. Although the swell remained much the same, the shifting and strengthening winds – from ESE to NW to N and increasing to 25 kn – resulted in quite choppy seas, and we were pushed south as we laid the slick.

At 1020 we decided to try our luck further north, and the clouds broke briefly at 1047 to allow a ray of sunshine through, but otherwise both sea and sky were uniformly gloomy grey. We set our second berley at 1053 over 400 fathoms, water temperature was relatively high at 18.7°C, the swell remained from the NE at a consistent 1 m, and winds were from the NE varying from 15 to 25 kn. At 1122 we decided to call it a day, having drifted quite far south under strengthening winds and with one passenger dangerously seasick. With a 1 m sea on top of the 1 m swell and continuing NE 20-25 kn winds, the trip back was quite wet and choppy, and we returned to port at 1310. Two seasick.


Fur Seal sp.: 7 on Cheverton Rock and 11 on The Hippolytes in the morning.


Mako Shark: 1 seen briefly by one observer in pelagic waters at 1015 hours.

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

Wilson’s Storm Petrel: 2 (1) pelagic.

Grey-backed Storm Petrel: 3 (2) pelagic.

White-faced Storm Petrel: 28 (20) pelagic.

Shy Albatross: 28 (9) 4 inshore in the morning, 6 offshore, 15 at the two berley stops and 3 on our return. Quite a few were moulting.

Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross: 1 (1) pelagic, and followed us into offshore waters.

Buller’s Albatross: 10 (4) 1 inshore, 4 offshore, 4 pelagic and 1 inshore in the afternoon.

Fairy Prion: 3 (1) 1 offshore and 2 pelagic.

Grey-faced Petrel: 3 (3) pelagic.

Great-winged Petrel: 1 pelagic.

SOFT-PLUMAGED PETREL: 1 at the second berley stop.

White-chinned Petrel: 2 (2) pelagic.

Sooty Shearwater: 2 (1) pelagic.

Short-tailed Shearwater: 1400 (100) approx 200 inshore, 150 offshore, 750 pelagic and 300 offshore in the afternoon.

Australasian Gannet: 183 (90) 143 inshore, 4 offshore, 1 pelagic, and 35 inshore in the afternoon.

Black-faced Cormorant: 216 (200) 211 inshore in the morning, with the bulk on The Hippolytes, and 5 inshore in the afternoon.

White-bellied Sea-eagle: 2 (1) 1 adult inshore in the morning, 1 immature with prey in its talons, inshore in the afternoon.

Silver Gull: 57 (15) 36 inshore, 4 offshore, 17 inshore in the afternoon.

Pacific Gull: 3 (2) on Cheverton Rock and the Hippolytes, 1 immature.

Kelp Gull: 54 (20) 43 inshore in the morning, 11 inshore in the afternoon.

Greater Crested Tern: 30 (20) 27 inshore in the morning, 3 inshore in the afternoon.

Jaeger sp.: 1 seen briefly by one observer inshore in the afternoon.



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