Yesterday's GibboTross

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Yesterday's GibboTross
From: knightl <>
Date: Sun, 19 Oct 2003 21:48:47 +1000
Yesterday's Southport pelagic trip was exquisitely painful for me [although quite humourous to recount].

I had my digital camera primed with both batteries fully charged and 540 MB of memory available, but as the boat was pulling out from the port, I discovered that I had left it at home. As Lano and Woodley would put it, I had feeling, a bit of an inkling, that this was going to be, one of those days.

I took a single kwells tablet on arrival at the wharf. While it was insufficient to stop me being seasick on an unexceptional sea for 7.5 of the 9.5 hours we were out to sea [and about 9 cycles of stomach clenching] it did make me drowsy for quite a few hours [a lose-lose situation].

At the drift point, the birds were flocking so close to the boat that I could have taken fifty good shots of the birds with my eyes closed. In particular, the wandering albatross swam up so closely to the boat that I could have almost photographed it on the macro setting - AND I DIDN'T HAVE MY CAMERA.

Anyhow, I did get to see the black lace on its wing coverts and the pink markings on its neck. For those of you who haven't seen a tross on the water, it was a bit like a large-billed short-necked slender-winged goose/swan. [It had a rather goose/swan like rear-end and sat fairly high in the water] The way it related to the shearwater hoi polloi during the shark-liver feeding frenzy was a bit like the way a black swan deals with the coots on a duck pond. Like a swan, it was also a bit on the slow side, so the shearwaters were able to grab bits of food from under its bill.

While the tross in question was a bit on the hungry side, it turned its beak up at the pilchards the shearwaters were gobbling down. Shark liver was a different story - it probably wolfed down about a kilo of shark liver and had a few bits of corn beef as a dessert.

From a twitching perspective, I did manage to identify a pale morph kermadec petrel by virtue of its necklace [I was sitting upstairs on my own at the time] and saw a single prion-sized flying fish.

Ah well, perhaps I will fare better next year.

Regards, Laurie.

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