NEWCASTLE, NSW, AUSTRALIA Pelagic Trip Report 25 October 2003

Subject: NEWCASTLE, NSW, AUSTRALIA Pelagic Trip Report 25 October 2003
From: richard baxter <>
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2003 01:44:49 -0800 (PST)

Newcastle, NSW, Australia, Pelagic Report SATURDAY 25th October 2003.


Departed 6.10am ? Returned 4pm.

Seas ? 1-1.5m NE

Winds ? 10-20knots NE

Primary Chumming Location: 75km off Swansea

Those on board: Dion Hobcroft, Chris Lester, Rosemary Lester, Ross Mullholland, Jann Mullholland, Rob Quinan, Graeme O?Conner, Nick Leseberg, Carol, Keith Laverick, Phil Hansbro, Richard Baxter and Damian Baxter.

Trip Summary: A great October trip with several highlights. We departed 6am and as soon as we reached open ocean we had to reduce our normal run-out speed due to a choppy N/E swell. This made for a long and bumpy ride out to the 75km mark.

The first pelagic birds seen were large numbers of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and mixed flocks of Hutton?s and Fluttering Shearwaters. Several OZ Gannets were seen feeding about 30km offshore and as a result of very strong easterly winds over the last week, we encounted both Providence and Great-winged Petrels well before reaching the shelf.

We eventually stopped and within seconds had good numbers of Providence Petrel, Great-winged Petrel and Wedge-tailed Shearweater around the boat. The next bird to arrive was a Gould?s Petrel which as usual refused to come near the boat. It continued to circle at a distance for while before disapearing and then returning an hour later for another couple of distance passes. Black-bellied Storm Petrel was next to appear followed by Cape Petrel, Short-tailed Shearwater, Wilson?s Storm Petrel, Crested Tern and Flesh-footed Shearwater.

A lone Black-browed Albatross had been at the back of the boat for over an hour when it was joined by a Wandering Albatross which also sat at the back of our boat and fed. This Wandering was eventually joined by a further seven during the day. A single White-faced Storm Petrel arrived as numbers of Providence and Great-winged Petrel grew to over 200.

With half an hour before it was time to head for home the best bird of the day appeared. Coming in from the south a PACIFIC ALBATROSS cruised past the boat allowing plenty of good digital photos to be taken. It stayed with us until we departed, at times coming very close to the boat. If this record is accepted it will possibly be the first accepted record for Australia.

The next highlight came minutes later when the Gould?s Petrel re-appeared close to the boat. Thanks to the wonders of digital photography, Phil Hansbro and I took about 70 photos in less than 5 minutes as it cruised back and forth across the slick. With the swell at our back the run home was far more comfortable than the trip out earlier in the day.


086 Wandering Albatross - 8

  1. Black-browed Albatross - 2

931 PACIFIC ALBATROSS (Thalassarche platei) -1

984 Cape Petrel ? 2+

75 Great-winged Petrel - 200

971 Providence Petrel - 30


  1. Wilson?s Storm Petrel ? 5
  2. White-faced Storm Petrel - 2+


71 Short-tailed Shearwater - 25

69 Wedge-tailed Shearwater - 1000+

68 Fluttering Shearwater - 200

913 Hutton?s Shearwater - 50

72 Flesh Footed Shearwater - 30

  1. Crested Tern - 4 pelagic
  2. Silver Gull
  1. Australasian Gannet


An extra pelagic has now been organised for Sun Nov 2nd 2003.

Newcastle Pelagic trips are conducted as non-profit outings.



Richard Baxter



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