BA-VIC Port Fairy pelagic 13 November 2005

Subject: BA-VIC Port Fairy pelagic 13 November 2005
From: "Mike Carter" <>
Date: Sun, 20 Nov 2005 11:48:40 +1100

SUMMARY: An enjoyable, comfortable trip with a good variety of interesting and photogenic birds with a Sooty Albatross as the highlight.


OBSERVERS: Chris Lester (organiser), Nigel Adlam, Bob Edwards, Brian Johnston, Rosemary Lester, Bernard Morris (UK), Frank Pierce, Charles Smith, Michael Tesche, Leone Thiele, Andrew Wells, Glenn White & Mike Carter (leader & reporter).


WEATHER: A high-pressure system was centred over western Bass Strait. Although it was mainly fine and sunny there was some cloud and distant showers were visible and we experienced an occasional sprinkle. Winds varied from a NE breeze of 5 Kts to virtual calm. For the most part, light and visibility was excellent. It was cool.


SEA: Generally slight (< 0.5 m) on a low (0.5-1.0 m) W swell. So it was a pleasant ride with little spray and no one was sick.


ACTIVITY: Sailed from Port Fairy (38º23?18?S 142º14?30?E) at 07.00 EDST. We went out on our usual course of 205º at 12.5 Kts. We paused only briefly enroute to the shelf break to observe 2 Pomarine Jaegers, check out some Dolphins and an occasional puzzling bird. We crossed the shelf break at 09.35 and at 09.50 stopped to berley in 160 fathoms 38º48.6?S 141º53.9?E. Almost immediately our shark-liver and fish berley attracted a variety of birds. At 10.30 we moved to deeper water encountering a loafing flock of albatrosses enroute. On reaching 38º52.5?S 141º49.6?E, a depth of over 600 fathoms, we berleyed from 11.05 to 11.45. Then from 12.05 to 12.50 we again berleyed, now at 38º48.9?S 141º50.3?E where the depth is 146 fathoms. Enroute back to PF, for the first time ever, we cruised the southern as well as the western and northern shores of Lady Julia Percy Island (LJPI). Docked at 16.15.



Common Dolphins: Four encounters of small pods numbering from 4 to 15 all in offshore waters. Conditions for sighting cetaceans were good so the absence of whales was disappointing.

Australian Fur Seals: Only 2 singles away from LJPI (one with a wide green ?collar?) where there were thousands. Would someone please advise if the ?collar? is a tracking marker.

[Along the southern shore of LJPI, this reporter believes he may have seen a few NZ Fur-seals and one Australian Sea Lion while alone on the bow.]


BIRDS: 22 species (24 taxa) of seabird observed beyond the river mouth indicated about average diversity. Notable by their total absence were Storm-Petrels. Unless noted otherwise, all listed below were near or beyond the shelf break (i.e. pelagic). Highlights are in capitals, the best being a SOOTY ALBATROSS.


Little Penguin: 3. 2 ashore @ LJPI  & 1 inshore.

S. GIANT PETREL: 2 (1) juvs. Adjacent to NGPs afforded good comparison.

N. GIANT PETREL: 3 (2) juvs, 1 offshore.

Cape Petrel: 1 very worn bird.

Great-winged Petrel: 50 (30). At least most were race gouldi. 

Fairy Prion: 9 (4). 6 offshore & 3 pelagic.


Flesh-footed Shearwater: 50 (20). 10 offshore, remainder pelagic.

Short-tailed Shearwater: 1,050 (100). 110 inshore, 900 offshore & 40 pelagic.

Fluttering Shearwater: 1 inshore.

Wandering Albatross: 12 (6). 1 gibsoni stage 5. Exulans stages 2(3), 3(4), 4(1) & 5(2)

& 6(1). Small size of gibsoni obvious among 3 exulans.

Black-browed Albatross: 11. Melanophrys: 10 (5) 1 inshore. 7 sub-ads & 3 adults.

            Impavida: 1 adult.      

Shy Albatross cauta: 87 (40). 2 inshore, 5 off & 80 pel. 2 juvs, 20 sub-ads & 65 ads.

Yellow-nosed Albatross: 11 (5). 8 juvs & 3 sub-adults. 3 inshore, 1 off & 7 pelagic.


Australasian Gannet: 170 (30). 50 inshore, 120 off & 2 pelagic incl. 1 juv.

Black-faced Cormorant: 4 on LJPI.


Arctic Jaeger: 1 offshore.

KELP GULL: 45 all ages, on LJPI. This is the largest number recorded on these trips

but this is solely due to our first ever patrol of the southern shore where there

was a large roost not previously counted.

Silver Gull: 27, 15 on LJPI & 8 inshore.

Crested Tern: 16, 4 inshore, 10 offshore & 2 pelagic.


Mike Carter
30 Canadian Bay Road
Mt Eliza    VIC     3930
Ph:  (03) 9787 7136
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