Wollongong NSW Pelagic Trip Reports 28th OCTOBER 2000

To: Birding-aus <>
Subject: Wollongong NSW Pelagic Trip Reports 28th OCTOBER 2000
From: Peter Milburn <>
Date: Tue, 31 Oct 2000 17:53:47 +1100

Report prepared by: P.J. Milburn
Departed at 7.15 am and returned at approx.4.00 pm.
Sea Conditions: Seas moderate, 2 metres swell 3 to 4 metre, S, abating
slightly in the afternoon
Weather: Glorious sunshine all day.  Max. 20°C
Barometeric pressure: 1016 HPa steady
Wind: Moderate to strong   20 to 25 kts southerly.
Water temperature 16.8 to 19.4 degrees C.


Spring at sea has been suspended temporarily by stong southerly winds.  But
for a lone Pomarine Jaeger, a handful of Common Terns and thousands of
Slender-billed Shearwaters one would be forgiven for thinking it was winter
again.    A large contingent of overseas visitors experienced a great day
of  winter pelagic birding!  Unfortunately, the conditions would only have
been enjoyed by true pelagic fanatics.  Much credit is due to the Skipper
who's expert seamanship minimised the discomfort, although this may have
gone unobserved by some.

 Albatross numbers were astonishingly high for the end of October, although
most of the adult Thalassarche have now left these waters. Even more
astonishing was the complete failure to identify positively a single
species of Pterodroma despite being in deep water for over an hour!

We departed the harbour in a stiff southerly breeze.  Knowing that
conditions would worsen as we headed offshore we headed south east to cross
over the contintal shelf break east of Kiama.  We were barely out of the
harbour before being joined by a Black-browed Albatross. Several miles out,
we were joined by the first Wedge-tailed Shearwaters which were soon
diluted to the point of disappearing by Slender-billed Shearwaters.  A few
Fluttering Shearwaters were among these hordes.  Shy Albatross appeared and
then, astonishigly, a COMMON DIVING PETREL was flying right beside the boat
affording brilliant views.
A small group of Common Terns followed behind for a while as if in attempt
to convince us that it was not mid winter.  As we approached deeper water
we encountered Hutton's Shearwaters amd more Wedge-tailed Shearwaters.

Once at 150 fathoms we idled into the sea and frenetic berlying soon
attracted a mob of birds.  Storm-Petrels appeared along with several
Prions.  One of the Prions was very pale blue above with a pronounced
greater-covert bar.  Trying to  note the bill proprtions proved to be
surprisingly difficult.  The bird made some closer approaches  revealing a
stubby, almost finch-like bill, quite unlike that of accompanying Fairy
Prions, confriming its identity as a FULMAR PRION. This was the first time
that this species has been recorded on a Wollongong Pelagic.  A second year
BULLER'S ALBATROSS was cryptic in the mob of Albatross behind the boat.
Two brief sightings of BLACK-BELLIED STORM-PETREL among a horde of Wilson's
and White-faced threw out a challenge to the observers on board.  October
now appears to be a reliable month to see BBSP on the Wollongong Pelagics,
although they have been recorded on many trips in NSW waters during the
winter of 2000.   Despite the greatest efforts of the seasoned observers on
board no Pterodroma Petrels were recorded.  This was the first time that I
have witnessed this on any pelagic trip in S.E. Australia.

On the return trip, a newly fledged BULLER'S ALBATROSS followed the boat
almost back into the harbour (to Flinder's Island). On the island we
observed several Sooty Oystercatchers.


Despite the novelty of the FULMAR PRION, the unseasonality of the always
rare COMMON DIVING PETREL and the thrill which always comes with seeing a
BLACK-BELLIED STORM-PETREL appear from behind a wave, my personal highlight
was the newly fledged BULLER'S ALBATROSS.  This bird simply gleamed in the
brilliant sunshine and was always subtle in its beauty.

Birds recorded (positively identified) according to latest Environment
Australia Reporting Schedule:

Species code:   Species name:   Numbers:

(Note: numbers in parenthesis = highest count at any one time)

080 Cape Petrel Daption capense australe 1
947 FULMAR PRION Pachyptila crassirostris 1
083 Fairy Prion P. turtur 5+ (3)
068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 50+ (15)
913 Hutton's Shearwater P. huttoni 10 (1)
069 Wedge-tailed Shearwater P. pacificus 50+ (35)
070 Sooty Shearwtater P. griseus 10 (1)
071 Slender-billed Shearwater P. tenuirostris 15 000+ (1 000+)
847 Gibson's Albatross Diomedea gibsoni 12 (7)
088 Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophrys 15 (10)
859 Campbell Albatross T. impavida 25 (15)  one adult
931 BULLER'S ALBATROSS T. bulleri 2 (1)
091 Shy Albatross T. cauta 15 (10)
861 White-capped Albatross T. steadi 7 (3)
864 Indic Yellow-nosed Albatross T. carteri 5 (3)
063 Wilson's Storm Petrel Oceanites oceanicus 30 (10)
065 White-faced Storm-Petrel Pelagodroma marina 40 (15)
066 BLACK-BELLIED STORM-PETREL Fregetta tropica 2 (1)
104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 30 (7)
106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 7 (7)
945 Pomarine Jaeger Stercorarius pomarinus 1
981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 12 (8)
125 Silver Gull  L. novaehollandiae 50+ (32)
115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 45+ (35+)
114 White-fronted Tern S. striata 2 (1)
953 Common Tern S. hirundo 12 (5)
226 White-bellied Sea-Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster  2 (2)

In the harbour

981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 2 adult
115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 3
100 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 3
106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 16

28 species of seabird identified outside the breakwater.

Common Dolphin 12

Future Trips,
All Pelagic Trips from NSW are operated at no profit to the organisers
being operated as group boat charters for the benefit of all who wish
to join us.  If you would like to join one of these  trips please  contact:

Either SOSSA or Carl Loves to make a booking on the SOSSA Wollongong
Pelagics which depart on the 4th Saturday of each month.

SOSSA: Phone 02 4271 6004.

Carl Loves Phone: 0427 423 500

Either Tony Palliser or Pete Milburn to make a booking for Sydney Pelagics,
which depart on the 2nd Saturday of each month..

Tony Palliser Ph; 02-99001678 (w), 02-94115272  (h)

Pete Milburn: Mobile 0416-249 506, 02-6255 1313 (AH) or 02-62494326 (BH)

Barbara Jones to make a booking for Eden Pelagics which are run on the 5th
Sunday of each month it occurs.

Barbara Jones or Ph (02) 6495 7390

Note: SOSSA = Southern Oceans Seabird Study Association

Dr.P.J. Milburn
Biomolecular Resource Facility
The Australian National University
GPO Box 334 Canberra ACT 0200  AUSTRALIA
Phone No.  <61> <2> 6249 4326
Fax No.    <61> <2> 6249 4326
E-mail Address  

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Dr.P.J. Milburn
Biomolecular Resource Facility
The Australian National University
GPO Box 334 Canberra ACT 0200  AUSTRALIA
Phone No.  <61> <2> 6249 4326
Fax No.    <61> <2> 6249 4326
E-mail Address  

Birding-Aus is on the Web at
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send the message
"unsubscribe birding-aus" (no quotes, no Subject line)

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