Port Fairy Pelagic excursion Sunday 5th Oct 2003

Subject: Port Fairy Pelagic excursion Sunday 5th Oct 2003
From: "Rohan Clarke" <>
Date: Mon, 13 Oct 2003 17:07:17 +1000
Hi all, Here's the trip report for the pelagic excursion that ran off Port
Fairy on Sunday 5th Oct (over a week ago now)
Rohan Clarke


OBSERVERS: Frank Pierce, Jen Spry, Peter  Crabtree, Ian Davies, Jim Caine,
Rob Berry, Gail D'Alton, Rosemary Lester, Chris Lester  (leader), Rohan
Clarke, George Appleby, Glen White, Charles Smith

WEATHER: Overcast with a shower followed by light persistent drizzle in the
am clearing to sunny around midday. As a result poor visibility in the AM by
generally good visibility in the PM. Cool to mild. SW wind to 5 knots
inshore at first rising to 10 knots well offshore
SEA: A light chop on a 1-2 m swell throughout the day made for pleasant
boating. As usually the final leg from Lady Julia Percy Island back to Port
Fairy was a bit bumpy.
ACTIVITY: Sailed at 07.00 EST. Headed directly to the shelf break at
38º49.31'S 141º53.07'E with just one short stop on the way (for a common
diving petrel on the water. With the exception
of band of prions and a 10000+ short-tailed shearwaters between the 40 and
50 fathom mark
few birds were seen on the trip out. We crossed the shelf break (100
fathoms)at 0930.  Between 1000 and 1230 we stopped and berleyed with shark
liver at
three locations on or over the shelf. Initially, bird numbers were low at
site but they rapidly grew to moderate aggregations of the usual suspects.
Headed back in at 1230 and cruised off
the western and northern shores of Lady Julia Percy Island (LJPI) before
docking at around 1600

MAMMALS: Common Dolphins 4 + in offshore waters
1,000's of Australian Fur Seals at LJPI mostly females with very large pups

BIRDS: 19 species of seabird beyond the river mouth indicated moderate
diversity. No particular bird was outstanding (Grey-backed Storm Petrel and
Common Diving Petrel are regular off Port Fairy). The lack of albatross
(just two species for the day) and in particular the total absence of
Black-browed Albatross is probably unprecedented.

Little Penguin:  7. 3 offshore and 4 on LJPI.

Great-winged Petrel: 12 (12) all apparently nominate race

Cape Petrel: 1

Fairy Prion: c. 100, mostly offshore, but  40 pelagic.

Short-tailed Shearwater: difficult to estimate but probably low tens of
thousands offshore. Up to fifty feeding behind the boat in pelagic waters.

Fluttering Shearwater: 1 inshore.

Hutton's Shearwater: 3 inshore

Sooty Shearwater: 5 (1)

Shy Albatross: 50 (40). 3 immature inshore 2 immature offshore. Max of 40
pelagic of which 38 where adult. All cauta type birds. One bird with metal
band on left leg and green paint mark across breast.

Yellow-nosed Albatross: 2. 1 adult and 1 sub-adult both pelagic.

Wilson's Storm-Petrel: 1 pelagic

Grey-backed Storm-petrel: 1 Pelagic

White-faced Storm-petrel 3. 1 offshore, 2 (2) pelagic

Common Diving Petrel: 6 (3). 3 inshore, 2 offshore, 1 pelagic

Australasian Gannet: c.100 (25) mostly offshore.

Black-faced Cormorant: 5. 2 ads, 3 immatures on LJPI.

Kelp Gull: 8 on LJPI.

Silver Gull: 4 on LJPI and 8 inshore

Crested Tern: 20 (5). 15 inshore, 5 pelagic

Also around LJPI Galah 1, Sooty Oystercatcher 6, Starling 10+, Masked
Lapwing 2, Welcome Swallow 10+

Rohan Clarke
Threatened Mallee Bird Project
Zoology Department
La Trobe University
Bundoora 3086
Ph: 03 9479 1672 Mobile 0408 947001

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