Sydney Pelagic Trip - March 12, 2005

Subject: Sydney Pelagic Trip - March 12, 2005
From: Roger McGovern <>
Date: Tue, 15 Mar 2005 16:33:46 +1100 (EST)
MARCH 12, 2005
The weather off Sydney was still very summery with light north-easterlies and warm seawater temperatures. Given these conditions, I was not expecting any earth-shattering rarities and it more or less turned out that way. However, once we reached the shelf break, there were always plenty of birds around to keep everybody on their toes.
There were surprisingly few birds inshore with just the odd Wedge-tailed and Flesh-footed Shearwater, but a pair of Huttons Shearwaters seen quite well added some variety. Once out at the shelf, we stopped and berleyed up bringing in good numbers of shearwaters and a few Great-winged Petrels. Then, down the berley trail appeared a GREY TERNLET which was well seen by all, but which did not linger for very long. Some minutes later, a large dark bird was spotted by myself and Debi Shearwater. By the time I had seen the foot projection beyond the tail, indicating that it was a large procellaria, it was too late to get additional fieldmarks as it flew steadily away and was not seen again. Its size (significantly larger than the surrounding Flesh-footed Sheawaters) ruled out Black Petrel and the time of year would indicate that it was probably a Westland Petrel.
At our last stop, after chasing a fishing trawler, we managed to lure in some Wilson's Storm-Petrels to the slick but, by and large, most of the birds seemed to be well fed and a little disinterested in our berley.
For the first time in my memory, no cetaceans of any sort were sighted during the trip.
Fine, a shower or two, and very warm
Water temperature at the shelf  22.5 degC
Departed Rose Bay at 07.05 and returned at 15.45.
Swell 1 metre, sea 0.5m, winds 5-10knots from NE
Reached 27.0 NM ESE of Sydney Heads
Great-winged Petrel                    40  (20)
Procellaria sp.                             1   (1)   probable Westland Petrel
Wedge-tailed Shearwater           180  (80)
Sooty Shearwater                        1   (1)
Short-tailed Shearwater                5   (1)
Flesh-footed Shearwater            150  (60)
Hutton's Shearwater                     2   (2)
Wilson's Storm-Petrel                  3    (1)
Australasian Gannet                   14   (4)
Pied Cormorant                           2    (1)    harbour
Great Cormorant                          1   (1)    harbour
Australian Pelican                       2    (1)    harbour
Arctic Jaeger                               4   (1)
Pomarine Jaeger                          8   (2)
Long-tailed Jaeger                        4   (2)
Silver Gull                                 150  (120) harbour
Crested Tern                                1   (1)
Common Tern                              5   (5)    harbour
GREY TERNLET                          1   (1)
p.s. The culinary highlight of the trip was the superb barbequed portions of fresh mahi-mahi and squid caught fresh by Hal and Steve Anyon-Smith the previous day!
Next trip will be on Saturday April 9, 2005. Call Hal at 0411 311 236 to make a booking.
Roger McGovern

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