To: birding-aus <>
From: Chris Brandis <>
Date: Fri, 02 Mar 2007 17:00:09 +1100

Report prepared by L,E SMITH

Departed: 07:15 returned at approx. 16:00.
Sea conditions: 1.0m- Rising to 2.00m  E- to NE.
Swell: negligible.

Weather: patchy cloud in the morning but overcast later.
Temperature range: 19.00 to 27°C.
Barometric pressure: 1016 HPa.
Wind: NE to 10 knots at first, rising 15-20 knots in the afternoon
before predicted Southerly change.

Sea surface temperature: 19.3 to 20.3°C.
Primary chumming location: S 34° 22' - E 151° 11'.


In the absence of any strong currents the sea conditions were
comfortable and, under the patchy cloud, the moderating breeze produced
a rather comfortable day.
Given the conditions of the past few days, with a High pressure cell of
the coast directing a mainly north easterly winds I was anticipating
mainly tropical species for the day.

As we headed out of the harbor, the almost flat sea allowed brief
glimpses of a few Little Penguins foraging just offshore.
Proceeded out to the Wollongong Reef 15klms offshore, birds in general
were few and far between. Only the occasional Australasian Gannet and
Fluttering Shearwater being observed. The Silver Gulls were in very low
numbers.  A distant Streaked Shearwater passing over our wake was the
only thing of interest.  As we past the reef, the water had a distinct
greenish black look to it and appeared lifeless.
Once past Wollongong Reef we were joined by a few Wedge-tailed,
Short-tailed and the first of the Flesh-footed Shearwaters.  These
followed in our wake and were soon joined by a single Pomarine Jaeger.
Heading into the wind on a North-easterly course, several more Pomarine
Jaegers, a single juvenile Long-tailed Jaeger and a few more
Flesh-footed and Wedge-tailed Shearwaters joined the following seabird
A small pod 3-5 animals, believed to be Bottle nosed Dolphins. (We lost
them in the rising swell) before positive identification could made

As we reached deeper water the wind strength increased somewhat to
approximately 15knots and the direction had shifted more toward the
north as we cruised beyond the edge of the continental shelf.

At the 100-fathom line we turned more to the east and continued into
deeper water, leaving the dirty water behind we were soon joined by a
lone Sooty Tern and a few more Shearwaters Crested Terns and Pomarine
Jaegers including one outstanding adult in fresh plumage. There were now
two Long-tailed Jaegers following in our wake, though they remained
quite distant.
We were soon joined by a large, all dark skua with an extensive white
wing bar extending well into the secondaries.  As the bird came closer
we could see that it was a Dark phased South Polar Skua in heavy molt!
post breeding?  The white in the secondaries, was indeed the white bases
of the secondary feathers, clearly visible due to the molting underwing
This bird stayed with us for almost an hour as we headed back in, giving
all on board excellent views of this rare visitor.
On crossing the shelf break on our return we were joined by a small pod
of Common Dolphins which rode in our bow wave before disappearing as
quickly as they had appeared
When once more in inshore waters a number of gulls and Jaegers including
three Artic Jaegers joined us including an all dark phase bird , the
latter were great fun to watch as they harassed the gulls and Crested

Highlights: SOUTH POLAR SKUA  Catharacta maccormicki

Birds recorded according to the latest Environment Australia Reporting

Species code:                   Species name:           Numbers:

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

068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia  5 (3)
069 Wedge-tailed Shearwater P. pacificus 150 (50)
070 Sooty Shearwater P. griseus 1 (1)
071 Short-tailed Shearwater P. tenuirostris 10 (3)
072 Flesh-footed Shearwater P. carneipes 20 (7)
853 Streaked Shearwater Calonectris leucomelas 1
104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 5 (2)
106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 5 (3)
979 South Polar Skua Catharacta maccormicki  1
128 Arctic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus 6 (3)
945 Pomarine Jaeger S. pomarinus 20 (7)
981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 2 (2)
125 Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae  50 (19)
115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 16 (3)
269 Sooty Tern  1 (1)

In the harbour:

096 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 2 (2)
097 Little Black Cormorant P. sulcirostris 1
100 Little Pied Cormorant P. melanoleucos 1
106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 16 (10)

15 species of seabird identified outside the breakwater.

Other birds
Australian Kestrel

Bottle-nosed Dolphin 3-5
Short beaked Common Dolphin 10-12

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 Trip that departs 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 Inc.


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