Port Fairy 6 May pelagic

Subject: Port Fairy 6 May pelagic
From: "Mike Carter" <>
Date: Tue, 8 May 2001 18:38:12 +1000
 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. pelagic).

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 + [3] inshore.

Wandering Albatross: 9. 8 exulans, 3 -stage 1, 1 –2, 2 –4,     1 –5 & 1 –7. 1 gibsoni stage 4. Several were very tame.

Black-browed Albatross: melanophris 20 mostly adults,         only 7 pelagic.

                impavida     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).

                      salvini 1

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 Fairy.

Crested Tern: 16 inshore.

White-fronted Tern: 6 (3). 3 pelagic & 3 offshore.

                                                              Mike Carter




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