25/8/01 Wollongong NSW SOSSA Pelagic Trip Report

To: Birding-aus <>
Subject: 25/8/01 Wollongong NSW SOSSA Pelagic Trip Report
From: Peter Milburn <>
Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2001 17:24:29 +1000

Report prepared by: P.J. Milburn
Departed at 7.15 am and returned at approx 5.00 pm.
Sea Conditions: NW 0.5 to 1.0 m at first, increasing later to 1.0 to 1.5m.
Swell 2 to 3 metre, SE.
Weather: Glorious sunshine all day.  Max. 21°C
Barometric pressure: 1016 HPa falling.
Wind: 5 to 10 kts NW at first increasing to 15 kts later.
Water temperature 18.1 to 19.5 degrees C.
Primary chumming location S 34° 23' - E 151° 23'.


A preceding southerly change and cooler water temperatures than the
beginning of August led us to hope that this trip would bring some typical
late winter/early spring seabirds.  The falling barometer and the forecast
of strong northerly winds later in the day added a little spice to the
anticipation of the day!  A large contingent of overseas visitors were
hoping for a good variety of albatross and southern petrels while the
seasoned locals were hoping for a continuation in the run of recent unusual
sightings, such as Arctic Tern and Cory's Shearwater.  The former won the
day, which was good because they had travelled further!  Overall numbers of
southern seabirds were still low but there was a significant improvement
over recent weeks.

Oustide the harbour we found calm seas and a rolling SE swell. Several
Australian Fur Seals and some Fluttering Shearwaters provided early
interest.  4 NM offshore we encountered numbers of shearwaters, mostly
Fluttering with the occasional Hutton's for the sharp-eyed and quick of
reflex and the first Wedge-tailed of the spring (right on schedule).
Unusually some 15 Fluttering Shearwaters tagged along following us into
deep water, which gave unprecedented photographic opportunities!

Further offshore we found small number of albatross including a first year
Shy Albatross which gave brilliant views.  Common and White-fronted Terns
were also around.  A small group of Australasian Gannets were observed
fishing with a group of Common Dolphins.

At 80 fathoms we were lucky enough to encounter 2 Southern Humpback Whales,
which gave us a good display.  The water temperature dropped wide of the
continental shelf and some soutern species were observed including a Cape
Petrel and the only ANTARCTIC PRION of the day.

At the shelf break we found more birds including, the highlight of the day
for many, a white male Gibson's Albatross which spent a lot of time with
us.  The bird wore a band on its right leg but did not allow itself to be
captured by the SOSSA banding team.

The bird rarity of the day once again appeared on the return trip in the
form of a GREY-BACKED STORM PETREL in 80 fathoms of water.


2 Humpback Whales breaching, protracted views of a white male Gibson's

Birds recorded according to latest Environment Australia Reporting Schedule:

Species code:   Species name:   Numbers:

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

937 Northern Giant Petrel  Macronectes giganteus 1
080 Cape Petrel Daption capense australe 3 (1)
971 Solander's Petrel P. solandri 35+ (10+)
083 Fairy Prion Pachyptila turtur 50+ (25+)
084 ANTARCTIC PRION P. desolata 1
068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 150+ (50+)
068 Wedge-tailed Shearwater P. pacificus 20+ (13)
913 Hutton's Shearwater P. huttoni 4 (1)
847 Gibson's Albatross Diomedea gibsoni 1
088 Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophrys 6 (2)
859 Campbell Albatross T. impavida 2 (1)
091 Shy Albatross T. cauta 1
861 White-capped Albatross T. steadi 1
864 Indic Yellow-nosed Albatross T. carteri 26 (6)
064 GREY-BACKED STORM-PETREL Garrodia nereis 1
065 White-faced Storm-Petrel Pelagodroma marina 1
104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 22 (17)
980 Brown Skua Catharacta lonnbergi 4 (2)
981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 3 (3)
125 Silver Gull  L. novaehollandiae 100+ (50+)
114 White-fronted Tern Sterna striata 13 (5) several adults in breeding plumage
115 Crested Tern S. bergii 58 (35)

In the harbour

106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 4

22 species of seabird identified outside the breakwater.


Australian Fur Seal 3 (2)
Common Dolphin 20+ (20+)
Southern Humpbacked Whale 2 (2)

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 us
as below:

To make a booking on the SOSSA Wollongong
Pelagics which depart on the 4th Saturday of each month contact

SOSSA: Phone 02 4271 6004.

Carl Loves Phone: 0427 423 500

Pete Milburn: Mobile 0416 249 506, 02 6255 1313 (AH) or 02 6125 4173 (BH)

To make a booking for Sydney Pelagics,
which depart on the 2nd Saturday of each month contact

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

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
Australian National University
GPO Box 334
ACT 0200

+61 2 6125 4173 'Phone
+61 2 6125 4326 FAX

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