birding-aus Pelagic Musings from Trevor Quested(fwd)

Subject: birding-aus Pelagic Musings from Trevor Quested(fwd)
Date: Wed, 14 Jul 1999 16:47:45 +1000 (EST)
THIS BOUNCED YESTERDAY - Here it is again...
From: "Trevor Quested" <>
Subject: Wollongong (NSW) boat trip last Saturday - observations
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 1999 21:48:26 +1000

Wollongong boat trip last Saturday - observations

I have nearly recovered from last Saturday's Wollongong Pelagic aboard =
the Sandra K.  No doubt others will post a formal list but here are my =

Preparation:  Tony Palliser spent some time winding me up with the =
gripping list after the previous week's trip.  Blue Petrel yarda yarda =
yarda.  Later in the week he said there were trips going from Sydney or =
Wollongong and I could choose either.  He read me the participants on =
both boats and I chose Wollongong.  Smart choice in hindsight.

The night before.  For the first time I took a Dramamine tablet as I =
went to bed.  Wow.  Amazingly dangerous dreams.  After breakfast take =
2nd tablet.  Horrible feelings.  Drive south to Wollongong.

There was just enough light at 10 to 7 to snap a few shots of the Sandra =
K at the quay with dawn behind.  Then on board and a few more snap shots =
to use up the 100 ASA film in my Nikon F90X before changing to a 400 =
film.  Got a beauty of Alan Morris.  Full frame.  Nice light on a warm =

We get underway.  Birding friends everywhere to talk to.  Lindsay Smith =
and Pete Milburn are calling most of the birds.  More than just names,  =
details too!  Kelp Gulls get aged as they fly by, and so later do all =
the Albatross and they get split into sub-species.  I like it.

Then at 7.39am Lindsay Smith shouts FULMAR then the magic three words =
"STOP THE BOAT!" follow.  I am gob-smacked.  I am on a pelagic for the =
first time in three years and am getting fantastic views of one of the =
only birds Tony Palliser has never seen.  I start firing away shots with =
a 200mm lens with the bird coming so close.  We all are beside ourselves =
with excitement.  It is such a gorgeous bird.

What do we do?  I know what to do.  I whip out my mobile and ring Tony =
to give him the good news. Feather by feather.  Bummer though. Hit the =
message bank.  Left a message and still haven't heard a reply.  Then =
Captain Carl leaves the cabin with a big net on a long pole and before =
you could blink he whisks the Southern Fulmar on board do you mind?  =
Carl says it is important for the Sandra K to show its superiority on =
pelagics.  If you want the best birds he said then the Sandra K is the =

Three people start the banding and measuring of the bird.  Click go the =
cameras, click, click, click.  Lindsay is looking extremely happy. We =
keep heading east.  Berleying as we go.  At half past eight I helped a =
bit.  Then a few hours later....  During a spell I thought I would check =
my camera.  First of all I checked my ISO button.  Oh No!  100.  I had =
taken 24 shots with 400 film set on 100.....Take it out,  mark the film =
canister, put a new one it, set it correctly.  Sulk quietly.  All those =
ruined shots..

Then a Black-browed Albatross is caught and hauled on board.  We witness =
a cool trick.  The albatross is released on deck to walk about with us =
until our banders have time to deal with it.  There is not enough space =
for the albatross to get a run up for take off.  So here we are with one =
of the most beautiful birds walking around with us.  I like that very =
much.  I am not sure that I liked the fluorescent paint sprayed on the =
back of the neck before it was released.

Another chance comes when the Fulmar comes back.  It is the same one.  =
Clearly visible are the blue texta marks on one side of the neck, put =
there for scientific purposes by our banders. More photos. It is easy to =
shoot lots of film on a pelagic.  I like using the 200 mm lens better =
than a 400 mm I have tried previously.  The camera feels much more =
balanced and the Autofocus is very fast. 

We hear "STOP THE BOAT!" a few more times but the best is for a =
Soft-plumaged Petrel.  Lindsay first glimpsed it and said he thought it =
was a Soft-plumaged Petrel.  Milburn shouted out Soft-plumaged Petrel =
and it came quite close to the boat giving me 2 good looks. My mal de =
mer was getting a grip on me so I may have my sequences out a bit but I =
think we were out as far as we were going which I heard somebody say 45 =

We drifted for some time, berleying sometimes with shark's liver and =
much tuna oil was poured  on the water.  It sort of sucked the cute =
little jobs in.  First of all the Prions were Fairy, then Antarctic then =
Murray and Lindsay were telling me Slender-billed.  Yum yum I thought =
this is great!  Then as if on cue a Black-bellied Storm-petrel tip-toed =
over the waves. Another tick! The fourth today.  Am I back in Canada at =
Point Pelee?

 I threw up a few more times...We turned for home and I wasn't =
complaining.  I sort of sat, dozed, chatted a bit,  played with my =
camera and we crept back in.  About an hour from shore I thought it had =
started raining and looked at Murray and looked up at Alan Morris on the =
top deck to see him smiling.  A young man upstairs was spewing all over =
those on the lower deck.  All in my hair, big blobs on my coat.  Ahh, =
pelagics,  new birds, bliss.

Lindsay asked when I was coming again.  Dunno I said.

Here is a list of the birds I recorded.  No doubt others saw more

  Wandering Albatross                   Diomedea exulans
  Black-browed Albatross                Thalassarche melanophris
  Shy Albatross                         Thalassarche cauta
  Yellow-nosed Albatross                Thalassarche chlororhynchos
  Antarctic Giant Petrel                Macronectes giganteus
F Southern Fulmar                       Fulmarus glacialoides
  Providence Petrel                     Pterodroma solandri
  Great-winged Petrel                   Pterodroma macroptera
F Soft-plumaged Petrel                  Pterodroma mollis
  Antarctic Prion                       Pachyptila desolata
F Slender-billed Prion                  Pachyptila belcheri
  Fairy Prion                           Pachyptila turtur
  White-faced Storm-Petrel              Pelagodroma marina
F Black-bellied Storm-Petrel            Fregetta tropica
  Australian Gannet                     Morus serrator
  Pied Cormorant                        Phalacrocorax varius
  Silver Gull                           Larus novaehollandiae
  Great Crested-Tern                    Sterna bergii


Trevor  Quested
Sydney,  Australia

Phone   +61 2 9955 6266
Fax  + 61 2  9959 4005

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