22 March 2003 Wollongong Pelagic Trip

To: Birding-aus <>
Subject: 22 March 2003 Wollongong Pelagic Trip
From: Peter Milburn <>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2003 12:07:32 +1100

Report prepared by: P.J. Milburn.

Departed: 07:15 returned at 16:00.
Sea conditions: calm at first, to 1.0m SE by mid-morning and to 2.0m SW in
the afternoon.
Swell:  southerly to 1.5m.
Weather: mostly clear at first but with building cloud and heavy showers
developing during the day.  The rain periods were punctuated with some
sunny periods however.
Temperature range: 19.2 to 21.8°C.
Barometric pressure: 1017 rising.
Wind: calm at first, SE 10 to 15 kts by mid morning, E 10 to 15 kts in the
early afternoon and SW 15 to 20 kts in the late afternoon.
Sea surface temperature: 19.2 to 24.8°C.
Primary chumming location: S 34° 27' - E 151° 26'.


The morning was mild and overcast as we left the harbour.  The ocean was
glassy calm but corrugated by a southerly swell.  There were no significant
weather systems in our area and the forecast was uncertain but hinted at
light winds from the east.  Shortly after leaving the shelter of the coast
a southerly breeze picked up making the going a little uncomfortable.

The Silver Gulls were in the mood to follow us, perhaps a sign of the
changing seasons, which in turn attracted the attention of several Arctic
Jeagers.  An assortment of shearwater species was encountered as we cruised
east but their numbers were low.  Two intermediate morph LONG-TAILED
JEAGERS joined us at the 75-fathom mark on our way out to the continental

As we cruised over the edge of the continental shelf at the 100-fathom line
seabird numbers began to increase.  A SOOTY TERN and 2 LONG-TAILED JEAGERS
were amidst the shearwater flocks but this zone seemed fairly quiet and our
instincts led us further east.

At the 350-fathom line we encountered the first Solander's Petrel of the
season returning to the Tasman Sea for the forthcoming breeding season.  As
we reached the 600-fathom line we observed large flocks of shearwaters
feeding on small Arrow Squid (Nototodarus sp.).
We elected to stop here and berley and in doing so we attracted large
numbers of birds, including several Wilson's Storm-Petrels.  After some 45
minutes we rewarded by the arrival of a TAHITI PETREL that circled the boat
numerous times and eventually settled to feed over or berley trail.

After protracted views of the TAHITI PETREL we were distracted from
birdwatching by the arrival of a large group of Pantropical Spotted
Dolphin.  It was time to begin our return trip so we started the engines
and 10 of the dolphins thrilled us by riding the bow wave for several
minutes.  There were other cetaceans present but we were only able to
identify positively 1 False Killer Whale that surfaced several times within
10m of the boat.

Excellent views of a TAHITI PETREL in worn plumage were the highlight of
the days birdwatching, with the FALSE KILLER WHALE and PANTROPICAL SPOTTED
DOLPHINS providing additional excitement.

Birds recorded according to the latest Environment Australia Reporting

Species code:                   Species name:           Numbers:

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

073 Great-winged Petrel Pterodroma macroptera gouldi 26 (10)
971 Solander's Petrel P. solandri 5 (2)
920 TAHITI PETREL Pseudo bulweria rostrata  1
068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 5 (2)
917 Hutton's Shearwater P. huttoni 6 (3)
069 Wedge-tailed Shearwater P. pacificus 1000+ (450+)
071 Short-tailed Shearwater P. tenuirostris 2 (1)
072 Flesh-footed Shearwater P. carneipes 160+ (50+)
063 Wilson's Storm-Petrel Oceanites oceanicus 6 (5)
104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 6 (1)
106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 1
128 Arctic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus 5 (3)
933 LONG-TAILED JAEGER S. longicauda 4 (2)
945 Pomarine Jaeger S. pomarinus 11 (5)
981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 3 (3)
125 Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae 175 (97)
115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 11 (3)
120 SOOTY TERN S. fuscata 1

In the harbour:

097 Little Black Cormorant Phalacrocorax sulcirostris 1
100 Little Pied Cormorant P. melanoleucos 7
125 Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae 23
115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 2

18 species of seabird identified outside the breakwater.

Other birds

226 White-bellied Sea-Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster 1 2nd year.


FALSE KILLER WHALE Pseudorca crassidens 1
PANTROPICAL SPOTTED DOLPHIN Stenella attenuata 75+ oceanic form

For details of previous trips please visit

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

Pelagic Trips from Wollongong depart on the 4th Saturday of each month and
additional trips are organised at popular times of the year.

To make a booking on the SOSSA Wollongong Pelagics contact

SOSSA: Phone 02 4271 6004.

Carl Loves Phone: 0427 423 500

Pete Milburn: Mobile 0428 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) or 0416 095875 (mobile)

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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