25/02/06 Wollongong Pelagic Trip Report, NSW, Australia

Subject: 25/02/06 Wollongong Pelagic Trip Report, NSW, Australia
From: Peter Milburn <>
Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2006 17:47:12 +1100

Report prepared by: P.J. Milburn. 

Departed: 07:15 returned at 15:45 EDT. 
Sea conditions: calm at first rising to 1.5 to 2.0m NNE later.
Swell: 1.5 to 2.5m ENE offshore. 
Weather: comfortably warm with mostly clear sky. 
Temperature range: 21.0 to 28.7°C. 
Barometric pressure: 1011 HPa steady. 
Wind: calm at first with a morning NE 12-15 knot breeze strengthening to 20-25 knots NNE. 
Sea surface temperature: 24.2 to 25.7°C. 
Primary chumming location: S 34° 22' - E 151° 20'. 


A high-pressure system located well offshore in the Tasman Sea generated northeasterly airflow.  In pleasant summer conditions we hoped to encounter some tropical seabird species. 
Beyond the inshore reefs were Wedge-tailed and Flesh-footed Shearwaters, Australasian Gannets and Pomarine Jaegers.  Crested Terns were present in larger numbers than recorded on recent trips but overall numbers remained low until we reached the deeper water. A single LONG-TAILED JAEGER was the most significant sighting during our journey to the edge of the continental shelf. 

At the 92-fathom line, we crossed a marked water interface with the surface temperature jumping upwards by 1.2°C.  The number of seabirds following our vessel jumped from tens to hundreds, being mostly shearwaters with a few Great-winged Petrels in their midst. 

As we crossed the edge of the continental shelf, a handsome male Gibson's Albatross appeared and, soon afterwards, a female WANDERING ALBATROSS joined him.  Unable to resist, we began a drift-and-berley session for the benefit of our observers from overseas.   Birds continued to join us from all directions but the only addition to our species tally was a handsome adult pale morph Arctic Jaeger.

Continuing our cruise to the northeast we attracted an impressive flock of seabirds and it seemed inevitable that we would attract something unusual.  However, we had to wait for the beginning of our trip back to port whereupon a TAHITI PETREL was sighted in the proximity of the two albatross.  Unfortunately this bird did not approach closely, but instead, headed off to the south. 


Amidst a spectacular flock of seabirds, TAHITI PETREL, WANDERING ALBATROSS and LONG-TAILED JAEGER were the feature species

Birds recorded according to the latest Environment Australia Reporting Schedule:

Species code:                      Species name:           Numbers:

(Note: numbers in parenthesis = highest count at any one time)

073 Great-winged Petrel Pterodroma macroptera gouldi 52 (35)
920 TAHITI PETREL Pseudobulweria rostrata1
068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 3 (1)
069 Wedge-tailed Shearwater P. pacificus 1250+ (650+)
071 Short-tailed Shearwater P. tenuirostris 2 (1)
072 Flesh-footed Shearwater P. carneipes 140+ (50+)
086 WANDERING ALBATROSS Diomedea exulans 1 adult female
847 Gibson's Albatross D. gibsoni 1 adult male
104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 7 (4)
106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 1
945 Pomarine Jaeger Stercorarius pomarinus 17 (6)
128 Arctic Jaeger S. parasiticus 2 (1)
933 LONG-TAILED JAEGER S. longicauda 2 (1)
981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 2 (1)
25 Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae 60+ (35+)
115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 9 (3)

In the harbour:

005 Little Penguin Eudyptula minor 1
096 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 2 (1)
097 Little Black Cormorant P. sulcirostris 3 (2)
106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 1
115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 1

16 species of seabird identified outside the breakwater. 

Other birds








For previous trip reports and selected images from this trip visit

Future Trips

All Pelagic Trips from NSW are operated at no profit to the organizers, being operated as group boat charters for the benefit of all who wish to join us.  If you would like to join one of these trips please contact us as detailed below:

To make a booking on the SOSSA Wollongong Pelagic Trips that departs on the 4th Saturday of each month contact:

SOSSA: Phone 02 4271 6004.

Carl Loves Phone: 0427 423 500

Pete Milburn: Mobile 0428 249 506, 02 6255 1313 (AH) or 02 6125 4173 (BH)

To make a booking for Sydney Pelagic Trips which depart from Rose Bay public jetty on the 2nd Saturday of each month contact

Tony Palliser Ph; 02-99001678 (w), 02-94115272  (h)

To make a booking for Eden Pelagic Trips, which are run on the 5th Sunday of each month as it occurs, contact

Barbara Jones or Ph (02) 6495 7390

Note:  SOSSA = Southern Oceans Seabird Study Association
Dr P.J. Milburn
Technical Specialist
ANU Biomolecular Resource Facility
John Curtin School of Medical Research
Australian National University
GPO Box 334
Canberra ACT 0200
'Phone +61 2 6125 4326
FAX +61 2 6125 4326
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