24th June 2006 - Eaglehawk Pelagic Trip Report
Prepared by M.Roderick (many thanks to Dan Mantle for his assistance in
compiling these reports)
Present on board (both days) - Richard Baxter (organiser), Inger Van Dyke,
Alan Stuart, Dan Mantle, Phil Rankin, Grant Penryhn, Rob Quinan, Mick and Steve
Roderick. Skippered (very ably) by Damien Farine.
Departed Pirates Bay 0715, returned approx 1600.
Confused sea to 1m, north to north-easterly swell to 1.5m.
Winds 15-25 knots from the SW.
Water temperature approx 16o
Drifted from S 43 6 E 148 12 to S 42 52 E 148 13 (these are approximate
The weather varied from cold, windy and wet at times, to reasonably pleasant
for short periods. The winds picked up from the south considerably and the
conditions generally deteriorated in the afternoon.
A chilling sou-wester greeted us at the jetty at Pirates Bay as up to 20 Kelp
Gulls wheeled in the twilight overhead. A juvenile Pacific Gull was noticed as
we motored into the windy sea. Birds were instantly apparent on the horizon and
within minutes we were surrounded by Yellow-nosed, Buller's, Shy and
Black-browed Albatross as well as several Australasian Gannet. It was looking
very promising from the start.
Once we reached the shelf we began to chum as we drifted northwards. Before
long we had both Giant Petrel spp. and numerous Cape Petrels behind the boat
(with at least one australis bird). Brief visits were made by Short-tailed
Shearwaters, Great-winged and Providence Petrels and one or two Common Diving
Petrels that fleeted past. A Wilson's Storm Petrel had taken up residence some
distance from the stern for a while before it was joined by a GREY-BACKED STORM
PETREL. By the end of the day we had seen around 20 of the latter of these
birds, with the maximum count around the boat at any time being 8 birds.
A few Wandering type Albatross visited us briefly, with a couple of young
birds amongst them. At least one exulans bird was positively identified.
Likewise, the (mainly Southern) Royal Albatross that were seen usually soared
past the boat like B-52s, although good views were made of a single NORTHERN
ROYAL ALBATROSS around midday. Another highlight was a White Morph Southern
Giant Petrel that created much commotion when it arrived, with cameras flung
out from all directions. Little did we realise that this bird would stay for
the rest of the afternoon and even follow the boat for quite a distance on the
But the day belonged to the Prions. We were blessed with good numbers (70+)
of Fairy Prions as well as several SLENDER-BILLED PRIONS that kept our ID
skills in check, as did the presence of at least a single ANTARCTIC/SALVIN'S
type PRION. Views of a particular bird on the day could not be substantiated.
Analyses of photographs taken of this bird have had us doing our homework,
although 2nd opinions have generally leaned towards it being an Antarctic. It
remains an 'Antarctic/Salvin's type' for this report. Some on-board believe
there were more of these 'Antarctic/Salvin's type' birds amongst the numerous
Prions that were seen.
Species / counts (numbers in parenthese are the highest count around the boat
at any one point in time)
Cape Petrel 50 (10) (one race australis)
Northern Giant Petrel 8 (3)
Southern Giant Petrel 10 (5) (one white morph bird)
Great-winged Petrel 15 (2) (mostly macroptera)
Providence Petrel 5 (1)
Common Diving Petrel 2 (1)
Fairy Prion 70+ (15)
SLENDER-BILLED PRION 20+ (5)
ANTARCTIC/SALVIN'S type PRION 1 (possibly others)
Short-tailed Shearwater 2 (1)
Wandering (type) Albatross 6 (2)
(at least one exulans, one probable gibsoni)
Southern Royal Albatross 3 (1)
NORTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS 1
Black-browed Albatross 10 (2)
Campbell Albatross 1
Buller's Albatross 80+ (5)
Shy Albatross 30 (4)
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross 20 (5)
Wilson's Storm Petrel 3-4 (1)
GREY-BACKED STORM PETREL 20 (8)
Australasian Gannet 10 (2)
Kelp Gull 25 (10)
Pacific Gull 1
Silver Gull 100+ (15)
Crested Tern 10 (2)
Black-faced Cormorant 14 (10)
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