Port Fairy, VIC, Pelagic Trip Report, 6 May 2001
Observers: Chris Lester,
Maarten Hulzebosch, Geoff Walker, Tania Ireton, Euan Fothergill, Harry Clarke,
David Stigney, Charles Smith, Chris Tzaros, Julie Hennesy, Grant Penrhyn (S.A.)
and Mike Carter (leader).
Weather: A high pressure ridge extended NW to SE
across western Victoria. Fine: partially cloudy at first but bright sunshine
from 11.00. Mild. Wind: 5 – 10 Kt S, lightest inshore.
Sea: Slight on a low swell. Thus it was a smooth ride with
little spray. Side awnings were not required and no one was sick.
Activity: Sailed @ 07.15. Headed out SSW @ 12.5 Kts. Paused
occasionally on way out, particularly to inspect feeding Gannets, Crested Terns,
Yellow-nosed Albatrosses, Short-tailed Shearwaters, Common Dolphins and Seals 8
Nm (15 km) offshore. Stopped to berley with shark liver and sliced couta just
inside the shelf-break @ a depth of 94 fathoms, (100 fathoms = 180 m), from
10.30 to 11.45. Then moved out 4 Nm to approach trawler fishing in c.230 fathoms
and later (briefly), further out to 44 km S of Lady Julia Percy Island (LJPI).
All three sites were within 2.7 Nm (5 km) of 38º47’S, 141º53’36”E. Headed in @
13.15 traveling @ c.13.5 Kts. Cruised W & S shores of LJPI from 15.15 to
15.40. Docked @ 16.40.
Mammals: Common Dolphins (>25) and Australian Fur
Seals (c.15) feeding on small fish, some skipping above the surface, 15 km out.
1,000’s of Seals at LJPI.
Birds: 24 species of seabird identified beyond the
river mouth indicated good diversity. The highlights were photogenic
Prions, three species, providing direct comparison at 3 m range in
excellent light, and an adult Buller’s Albatross. The lowlights were the
two that got away. One appeared to be a very pale Pterodroma, the most likely
possible candidate a Cook’s Petrel, and a possible Blue Petrel. Unless noted
otherwise, most listed below were near or beyond the shelf break (i.e.
Little Penguin: 1 in the Moyne River.
Common Diving-Petrel: 1 inshore.
Great-winged Petrel: 15 (10), all macroptera.
Antarctic Prion: 2 (2).
Slender-billed Prion: 5 (5).
Fairy Prion: 35 (15), 10 offshore.
Flesh-footed Shearwater: 1.
Short-tailed Shearwater: 100 (10), 80 inshore, 15 offshore
& 5 pelagic. Most, probably all, were juveniles. A
few were feeding but most were flying
east, singly or in
small parties, presumably migrating.
Fluttering Shearwater: 3 +  inshore.
Wandering Albatross: 9. 8 exulans, 3 -stage 1, 1 –2, 2
–4, 1 –5 & 1 –7. 1 gibsoni stage 4. Several were
Black-browed Albatross: melanophris 20 mostly adults,
only 7 pelagic.
150 mostly adults, all pelagic.
(The yellow banded bird seen in December
was banded (age unknown) on Macquarie Island in 1998/99).
Shy Albatross: cauta 44 (30).
Yellow-nosed Albatross: 45 (15), mostly inshore.
Buller’s Albatross: 1.
Wilson’s Storm-Petrel: 4 (2).
White-faced Storm-Petrel: 4 (2).
Australasian Gannet: 261 (50), only 1 pelagic.
Black-faced Cormorant: 1 on LJPI.
Great Skua: 1.
Pacific Gull: 1 off mouth of Moyne River.
Kelp Gull: just 1 on LJPI.
Silver Gull: c.40 on LJPI & 8 inshore near Port
Crested Tern: 16 inshore.
White-fronted Tern: 6 (3). 3 pelagic & 3 offshore.