Paul Walbridge has asked me to post the Southport Pelagic Report
(which he compiled) for the 19/08/06. I am sure he could have asked
several people to post this report on birding-aus but I guess he
choose me as I dipped on Queensland's first live Westland
Petrel. I had to pull out of the trip at 5 am that morning, having
dropped my flatmate to Wally Walbridge's house for the trip. Bloody
typical. So much for the luck of the Irish! They were even kind enough
to ring me from the boat to let me know what they were watching.
Thanks Seb and Paul!! Gotta go the miners are going off outside. There
is a raptor about ...... it was a Brown Gossie (first from the office,
so some luck after all).
Cheers Dan Mantle
Southport Pelagic Report 19/8/06.
Vessel: 37ft foam-filled fibreglass monohull.
Skipper: Leon Paddy Dimond.
Crew: John Neller.
Pax: Paul Walbridge (Leader & organizer), Brian Russell, Seb Pardo,
Chris Barnes, Chris Sanderson & friend Danica, Tina Manners, Bill
Manners, Norbert Roeder, Joachim, Kantelhart, Tony Scriven.
Weather Conditions: (including wind speed & direction).
A High over the Tasman Sea extended a firm ridge along the east
Queensland coast, with a weak frontal system traversing the southern
parts of the state. The winds in the week leading up had been mainly
SE-NE 10-20 knots. On the day, light variable winds, with a
north-easterly onshore breeze to 15 knots in the afternoon. Little
cloud cover with bright Spring conditions during the morning with
excellent visibility, cloud increasing during the afternoon. Barometer
1020 hPa, air temp. to 25'0C.
Sea Conditions: (including water temp. °C, when possible).
Fairly calm early on with .5 metre swell increasing to 1metre seas on
1.5 metre swell by mid-morning. Sea-surface temps. 21'0C inshore
rising to 23'0C at the Shelf-break & 23.4'0C out wide in Slope waters.
EAC running at about 1.5 knots at widest drift.
Left the Seaway at 0705 hrs & traveled out over the Shelf with the
first drift still in Shelf waters at 0847 hrs in approx. 80 fathoms of
water. Crossed the Shelf-break at about 0915 hrs and conducted several
drifts over the next 3 hours or so before heading back to the Seaway
at 1208 hrs. Total duration for the trip 7 hrs 55 mins.
On leaving the Seaway, noticed a distinct lack of Australasian Gannets
and within a few minutes the first of many Wedge-tailed Shearwaters
appeared, confirming that Winter had left us and Spring had sprung!
Traversing the Shelf showed little of note apart from increasing
numbers of Wedge-tails until a large, dark petrel appeared astern at
0847 hrs. This was something different & I soon realised we had a
Procellaria on our hands, any of which are extremely rare in
Queensland waters. As it approached I dismissed Black Petrel, as this
bird seemed to big and the jizz to robust ( there was a single
Wedge-tail Shearwater on hand for comparison) and thought maybe our
second record of White-chinned Petrel, for Southport.
Closer, closer, then Bingo! black bill-tip Queenslands first live
sighting at sea of Westland Petrel. I quickly got the vessel to stop
and barked out the order for chum over, by the time Id ducked inside
to get my camera gear the bird had settled close astern of the boat,
gobbling up sharks liver. For the next 30 minutes we had great views
and with all the digi-cams on board, lots of photos taken. The bird
finally had enough and headed off south while we headed east to the
Shelf-break. My submission for this bird has already been sent to
By now as we crossed into Slope waters a few Huttons Shearwaters
zoomed past and the first Providence Petrels started to appear along
with a few small feeding parties of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters. At 1035
hrs we came across a feeding party of Wedge-tails and upon pulling
alongside a very pale petrel appeared amongst them, this proved to be
the first Kermadec for the day, a pale phase bird. This bird was most
accommodating and after a few minutes was joined by another, this one
being an all dark bird, what a contrast! Kermadec Petrels are becoming
very regular on Southport trips.
We moved a short distance to where another feeding flock of
Wedge-tails & Sooty Terns could be seen and were joined at 1100 hrs by
a young Wandering Albatross, a stage 3 bird and it quickly settled in
for a feed. By now several Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, a few Providence
Petrels, several Sooty Terns and a couple of Wilsons Storm Petrels
were around the slick with a few Huttons Shearwater flybys.
On the journey back, not much to report apart from a single Fluttering
Shearwater and finally, small numbers of Australasian Gannets.
Overall, the species diversity was down for August and certainly from
the previous trip (July) when we had 4 species of albatross and 7
Black-bellied Storm Petrels but the Westland Petrel more than made up
Providence Petrel 14 (3)
Kermadec Petrel 2 (2)
Westland Petrel 1
Wedge-tailed Shearwater - 138 (30)
Fluttering Shearwater 1
Huttons Shearwater -13 (5)
Wandering Albatross (exulans) 1
Wilsons Storm Petrel 2 (1)
Australasian Gannet 4 (2)
Pied Cormorant 1
Silver Gull 5
Crested Tern 1
Sooty Tern 23 (8)
Southport Pelagics are run on the 3^rd Saturday of each month, the
next trip being on September 16^th with spaces still available.
Contact: Paul Walbridge on (H) 07 3391 8839 (W) 07 3350 8258.
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