Port Fairy (PF), VIC, Pelagic Trip Report, 12 August
Observers: Peter Lansley, Chris Lester, Euan
Fothergill, Neil Macumber, Peter Crabtree, Rob & Gail Berry, Bill &
Shirley Ramsay, Gina Hopkins, Alan Clarke, Keith Betton (UK) and Mike Carter
Weather: A large, strong, high-pressure system was
centred over Victoria. It was a very pleasant day, mostly sunny with some thin
cloud. Cool to mild. Wind: 7-12 Kt SW.
Sea: Slight to choppy on a 2 m SW swell. Thus there
was a little spray at times. Although not a gentle ride, it wasn’t too
uncomfortable. One passenger succumbed to motion sickness and at least another
Activity: Sailed @ 07.15. Headed out SSW @ 12.7 Kts. Apart
from some inshore, few birds were encountered on the way out. We stopped to
berley with shark liver and sliced couta at three locations within a 5 km radius
of 38*50’S 141*51’E (c. 60 km SSW of PF) over depths from 216 to 334 fathoms
between 10.05 and 13.00. On way in, cruised W & S shores of Lady Julia Percy
Island (LJPI) from 15.15 to 15.45. From LJPI to PF was slower than usual as we
saw some interesting birds on this stretch. Docked @ 17.00.
Apart from 1,000’s of Australian Fur Seals at LJPI (none elsewhere) the
only mammals were two distant Bottle-nosed Dolphins just east of the mouth of
the River Moyne at PF.
pleasant, entertaining and interesting day with the highlight being a very
photogenic juvenile Northern Royal Albatross over the deep water.
Although it didn’t settle, it made several close passes. 21 species of seabird
identified beyond the river mouth indicated above average diversity.
Unless noted otherwise, most listed below were in pelagic
Little Penguin: 7. 1 pelagic (unusual that far out). 2 on sea
at LJPI & 4 twixt there and PF. Also 6 dead, 5 near LJPI, floating on the
sea. Two pulled aboard were emaciated.
Common Diving-Petrel: 3, inshore off PF.
S. Giant Petrel: 2 inshore.
Great-winged Petrel: 30 (20), all macroptera.
Slender-billed Prion: 1.
Fairy Prion: 2 (1).
Sooty Shearwater: 2.
Fluttering Shearwater: 23 (20). 22 inshore and 1 pelagic.
Hutton’s Shearwater: 1.
Wandering Albatross: 1 exulans stage 5/6 on sea
inshore off PF.
Northern Royal Albatross: 1 juv.
Black-browed Albatross: 60 (20). 59 melanophris (only
8 pelagic, 50 inshore, an unusual distribution), 1 impavida (pelagic). Most were resting on the sea
between LJPI and PF in the p.m. Since the sea here was littered with cuttlebones
we assumed they had been feeding on cuttlefish.
Shy Albatross: cauta 80 (35) (all areas but mostly
Yellow-nosed Albatross: 45 (35), all pelagic where more
abundant than Black-browed.
Australasian Gannet: 115 (60).
Black-faced Cormorant: 3 including a juv. on LJPI.
Great Skua: 1.
Kelp Gull: 3 adults on LJPI.
Silver Gull: 18, 12 on LJPI & 6 inshore.
Crested Tern: 17 (4). All areas.
White-fronted Tern: 4, 1 pelagic & 3 at LJPI. Only
one was a first-year bird. One adult had almost assumed full breeding
plumage including the elongated outer tail streamers.
On LJPI, we could also see 1 Swamp
Harrier, 1 Nankeen Kestrel, 5 Sooty Oystercatchers and several Welcome
As we left PF in the a.m., 2 Cattle Egrets
passed over heading out to sea!
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Mt Eliza Vic 3930
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