25th June 2006 - Eaglehawk Pelagic Trip Report
Prepared by M.Roderick
(same punters as 24th June, see previous message)
Departed Pirates Bay 0715, returned approx 1545.
Sea 0.5 to 1m, swell to 2m.
Winds 10-15 knots from the SW.
Water temperature approx 16o
Drifted north from S 43 10 E 148 8 to S 42 58 E 148 10 (these are approximate
In stark contrast to the day before, things were generally quiet today as far
as diversity was concerned, perhaps owing to the pleasant, sunny day that we
had (damn that good weather!). The highlight was undoubtedly the feeding frenzy
that we encountered just off the Hippolytes, with rafts of mostly Buller's
Albatross (but also Shy, Black-browed and some Yellow-nosed as well) jostling
for their share of the bounty - identified by Damien as Redbait Emmelichthys
nitidus. Joining them were Australasian Gannet diving just metres from the boat
and numerous Kelp Gulls of all ages. This was a spectacular sight for most of
us, who are more accustomed to seeing Shearwaters attending feeding frenzies,
not to mention the Australian Fur Seals that were also herding the fish.
We began a northwards drift over the shelf from quite a bit further south
than yesterday. We tried to align ourselves with Tasman Island in an attempt to
place ourselves in the path of birds that were skirting around it. Things never
really picked up and the most activity amongst those on board was when a lone
White-fronted Tern graced us with his presence. This was one of the
most-photographed birds of the weekend! The numbers of Buller's Albatross were
probably higher than the previous day. Amongst the Buller's there were also the
occasional Black-browed and Shy Albatross.
Brief visits were also made during our drift northwards by a Southern Giant
Petrel, a Southern Royal Albatross and a single SLENDER-BILLED PRION. Two
Wandering type Albatross were also seen from a distance.
Species / counts (numbers in parenthese are the highest count around the boat
at any one point in time)
Cape Petrel 15 (5)
Southern Giant Petrel 1
Giant Petrel sp. 1
Great-winged Petrel 5 (1)
Providence Petrel 1
SLENDER-BILLED PRION 1
Short-tailed Shearwater 1
Wandering (type) Albatross 2 (1)
Southern Royal Albatross 1
Black-browed Albatross 10 (2)
Buller's Albatross 150+ (10)
Shy Albatross 20 (3)
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross 15 (4)
Australasian Gannet 15 (8)
Kelp Gull 40 (10)
Pacific Gull 2 (1)
Silver Gull 150+ (25)
Crested Tern 20 (4)
White-fronted Tern 1
Black-faced Cormorant 200 (20)
Many thanks to Richard for organising the trips (and for leaving us all at
sea while he swam back to shore to get the next flight to Sydney to get the
next car to Burren Junction!). Only joking, but he and Inger managed to go from
the continental shelf off the Hippolytes at 3pm to be in Burren Junction by 6am
the next morning). To get there they went via boat, hire car, plane and private
car. Great stuff.
Thanks also to Damien Farine who is an excellent skipper who runs a very
well-loved boat and has a superb knowledge of the Eaglehawk area and everything
associated with it.
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