Portland (Vic.) pelagic 3 Aug. 1997

Subject: Portland (Vic.) pelagic 3 Aug. 1997
From: RAOU Handbook <>
Date: Wed, 6 Aug 1997 09:14:05 +1000 (EST)
Once again fine but overcast and quite calm conditions prevailed off SW Vic.
for a rather quiet trip of 12 birders led by Mike Carter. First timers and
interstaters were kept happy with southern specialties such as Royal
Albatross, Grey-backed Storm-Petrel and two white Giant-Petrels, but for
regulars excitement was generated by several large cetaceans. We settled on
Sperm Whale as the I.D. after some doubters muddied the waters with claims
of Humpback. Along with Common Dolphins, this made our sixth cetacean in
five trips.

Noteworthy about this trip was the patchiness of Cape Petrels, with one
large raft staying put around the 220 metres depth, whereas only three were
seen at ca. 1000 metres depth, where we berleyed for over 0.5 hour. The two
white Giant-Petrels were the first for some years. The complete absence of
fluttering shearwaters was unusual.

Portland. Vic. 3 August 1997. 0715-1650 hours EST. Once leaving Portland
Bay, we followed the coast to Cape Nelson then headed SW, proceeding to ca.
38 deg 46'S, 141 deg 11'E (about 31 NMi from Lawrence Rocks) from where we
turned back.

Birds - at sea.   Total 20 species.

Little Penguin 2 on Lawrence Rocks
Southern Giant-Petrel 2 white morphs
Northern Giant-Petrel 3
Giant-Petrel sp.? 2 near Lawrence Rocks
Cape Petrel 120
Great-winged Petrel 30, max. together 8
Fairy Prion 7
Sooty Shearwater 2
Royal Albatross 2 subspecies epomophora
Black-browed Albatross 40, max. together 25; mostly melanophris, 3 impavida
Shy Albatross 30, max. together 15; all cauta except 1 salvini juvenile
Yellow-nosed Albatross 35, max. together 25; all subsp. bassi
Grey-backed Storm-Petrel 20
Australasian Gannet ca. 3000 Lawrence Rocks, ca. 4 over shelf-break.
Little Pied Cormorant 1 Lawrence Rocks
Black-faced Cormorant ca. 48, Lawrence Rocks
Great Skua 11 around Lawrence Rocks
Silver Gull 4 (2 just beyond Lawrence Rocks; 2 also in Bay)
Pacific Gull 1 Lawrence Rocks
Crested Tern 6, max. together 3
White-fronted Tern 1 first year bird

Also in harbour: Pacific Gull 1 adult, Silver Gulls
on Lawrence Rocks: White-faced Heron 2, Sooty Oystercatcher 2.


Common Dolphin c. 10
Sperm Whale 1 seen well, ca. 3 seen in distance presumed to be Sperm Whales.
Well offshore within 1 NMi of 38 deg 42'S, 141 deg 12'E.
Australian Fur Seal. ca. 5 offshore; 7 around Lawrence Rocks including one
loafing on rock surface.

Forthcoming trips: 7 September, 5 October. Both fully booked. For possible
November trip contact Mike Carter 03 9787 7136.

Peter Lansley.

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