Perth Pelagic Trip 17th November 1996

Subject: Perth Pelagic Trip 17th November 1996
From: "Frank O'Connor" <>
Date: Mon, 18 Nov 1996 22:41:11 +0800

Frank O'Connor (organiser), Mariee Bougher, John Brooke, Jean & Bruce
Burton, Michael Craig, Jean Craig, Brycen Godfey, Danae Haarmen, Kim (KC)
Lim, Catlyne Margrain, Susie Maxwell, Stuart & Jan Miller, Glenn Moore,
Clive Nealon, Ross Payton, Cameron Platell, Louise Prince, Wladslaw Sarafin,
Jeremy Talbot, Toy Teale, Vanessa Yeomans

Departed Hillarys Boat Harbour at 7.35am - returned at 4.25pm, less than 2
metre swell, almost flat seas, a light breeze mainly after midday.  A cloudy
but fine day of about 23C maximum.  After strong winds all day Friday and
part of Saturday morning, these were excellent conditions and we hoped for a
good variety of species, which was not fully realised.

This was the second trip of what hopefully will four per year.  The day
started out very slowly with almost no birds (not even terns) before we
reached Rottnest Island.  We stopped for 10 minutes for a group of 3
Humpback Whales.  A couple of Bridled Terns and an Australasian Gannet were
seen as we reached Rottnest.

We went around the back of Rottnest where we started to see a scattering of
Wedge-tailed Shearwaters.  Near the West End of Rottnest we headed west
where the numbers of shearwaters increased.  We stopped for 4 on the surface
which proved to be 2 Wedge-tailed and 2 Flesh-footed Shearwaters.  As we
continued out there continual sightings of both shearwaters plus a few more
Bridled Terns.

We stopped for about 20 minutes where the depth was 200 metres, and threw
some burley over.  However, the only species seen were about 50 Flesh-footed

We decided to head out for deeper water.  The depth dropped off quickly and
we stopped with the depth over 500 metres.  We stayed for an hour throwing
burley and oil over the stern, but the results were very disappointing with
almost everything being FFSW, although there were a few Wedge-tailed
Shearwaters that kept their distance, and at least 4 Great-winged Petrels
which came fairly close on a few occasions.  At least one White-faced
Storm-Petrel was seen a few times, but it never came as close as the
previous trip.  As we were about to move off at 11:30 we saw a Wilson's
Storm-Petrel, and then a Great Skua was seen harrassing a shearwater.  This
species was unexpected this late in the year.  It was disappointing to see
no albatrosses or other petrels, and even the Crested Terns that were fairly
common offshore on the last trip were absent.

We headed north towards shallower water and stopped for 30 minutes for lunch
when the depth was about 300 metres. The deepest we got on the August trip
was just over 200 metres.  Nothing different was seen, although we saw a few
more Great-winged Petrels, Wilson's and White-faced Storm-Petrels.

We continued north into shallower water and stopped for a school of
dolphins.  School is probably the wrong term, as they were scattered over
quite a wide area, often putting flying fish into the air, one of which hit
the side of the boat and was then taken by a dolphin.  The dolphins had a
white tip to their nose, and a relatively tall thin fin.  They were later
identified as Bridled (or Spotted) Dolphins.  While watching the dolphins a
Crested Tern came in closely followed by an Arctic Jaeger.

We headed for Hillarys seeing more shearwaters and storm-petrels and a few
groups of 20 or so Bridled Terns.  We stopped near one group where the water
boiled with small fish.

As we passed throug the reef at Hillarys we had a brief detour to Little
Island to look for a possible Little Penguin.  However, there were only Pied
Cormorants, a few terns and gulls and one Australian Sea Lion.  We docked at
about 16:25.

It was a great day for a boat trip, but the list of 5 pelagics and 4 others
was disappointing, although there were 5 species not seen on the August trip.

Many thanks to the skipper Andrew and the deck hands Craig (who chopped up
the fish scraps and prepred the burley) and Brian.  Thanks also to the
participants who make these trips possible.


07:30 S31 49.6, E115 43.3, 7m (Hillarys)
08:30 S31 54.6, E115 35.0, ?
09:30 S32 00.0, E115 20.6, 100m
10:00 S32 00.7, E115 13.1, 197m
10:25 S32 00.8, E115 08.7, 520m
11:30 S32 00.9, E115 08.3, 540m (after drifting)
12:40 S31 59.1, E115 13.4, 304m
13:00 S31 55.7, E115.13.7, 158m
13:40 S31 54.2, E115 18.5, 100m

BIRD LIST (Christidis & Boles order) :
Great-winged Petrel (7+ most in heavy moult)
Wedge-tailed Shearwater (100+)
Flesh-footed Shearwater (300+)
Wilson's Storm-Petrel (8)
White-faced Storm-Petrel (8)
Australasian Gannet (5)
Great Skua (1)
Arctic Jaeger (1)
Silver Gull (1)
Crested Tern (2)
Bridled Tern (~100)

Pacific Black Duck (2) at harbour entrance
Pied Cormorant (~100) harbour & Little Island
Common Sandpiper (1) harbour
Silver Gull (30+) harbour & Little Island
Caspian Tern (1) Little Island
Crested Tern (6) harbour & Little Island
Laughing Turtle-Dove (1) harbour
Welcome Swallow (6) harbour & just outside

Humpback Whale (3)
Bridled (Spotted) Dolphin (Stenella attenuata) (40+)
Australian Sea Lion (1) Little Island

The next trip is not confirmed yet, but is expected to be on Sunday 6th
April 1997.  A trip is also a possibility on Sunday March 2nd or Sunday 2nd
February if there is enough interest.  For details contact Frank O'Connor
(09 386 5694 or 091 671 445) or email  or

The expected cost will be $50 if 23 people book.

Frank O'Connor                  Argyle Diamonds
8C Hardy Road                   PMB 11
Nedlands  WA  6009              West Perth  WA  6872
Phone   +61 9 386 5694          +61 91 671 445
Fax                             +61 91 671 438

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