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 &
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
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
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
[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
S. GIANT PETREL: 2 (1) juvs.
Adjacent to NGPs afforded good comparison.
N. GIANT PETREL: 3 (2) juvs, 1
Cape Petrel: 1 very worn
Great-winged Petrel: 50 (30).
At least most were race gouldi.
Fairy Prion: 9 (4). 6 offshore
& 3 pelagic.
WHITE-CHINNED PETREL: 15
Flesh-footed Shearwater: 50
(20). 10 offshore, remainder pelagic.
Short-tailed Shearwater: 1,050
(100). 110 inshore, 900 offshore & 40 pelagic.
Fluttering Shearwater: 1
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
Impavida: 1 adult.
Shy Albatross cauta: 87
(40). 2 inshore, 5 off & 80 pel. 2 juvs, 20 sub-ads & 65
Yellow-nosed Albatross: 11 (5).
8 juvs & 3 sub-adults. 3 inshore, 1 off & 7
SOOTY ALBATROSS: 1
Australasian Gannet: 170 (30).
50 inshore, 120 off & 2 pelagic incl. 1 juv.
Black-faced Cormorant: 4 on
POMARINE JAEGER: 2
Arctic Jaeger: 1
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
Silver Gull: 27, 15 on LJPI
& 8 inshore.
Crested Tern: 16, 4 inshore, 10
offshore & 2 pelagic.