23rd June, 2007 SOSSA PELAGIC TRIP, WOLLONGONG, NSW, AUSTRALIA.
Report prepared by: P.J. Milburn.
Departed: 07:25 returned at 16:14.
Sea conditions: slight SW at first to1.0m SSW by late morning.
Swell: SE 2.0 to 3.0m inshore and 3.5 to 5.0m offshore.
Weather: Perfect winter sunshine all day.
Temperature range: 5.9 to 15.6°C.
Barometric pressure: 1019 HPa rising.
Wind: WSW 3 to 5 knots at first increasing to SSW 8 to 12 knots later.
Sea surface temperature: 17.2 to 20.3°C.
Primary chumming location: S 34° 31' - E 151° 18'.
A large anti-cyclonic system was moving out of
the Great Australian Bight over southeastern
Australia. An intense low-pressure system that
had generated damaging storms during the week
preceding was by now east of New Zealand. A cold
southwesterly air-stream prevailed and, in
combination with clear skies, we awoke to a
frosty winter morning.
Inshore the water was a bit murky after the
recent heavy rains but, as we cleared Wollongong
Reef, we began to encounter some typical winter
seabirds. Black-browed outnumbered Indic
Yellow-nosed Albatross and, while we stopped to
allow several Humpback Whales to pass, a Brown
Skua entertained us by harrying the Silver Gulls.
As we resumed our journey eastward we soon
encountered Campbell and SHY ALBATROSS, a
SOUTHERN GIANT PETREL, additional Brown Skuas and
several White-fronted Terns. The early
indications were that we would have another great
day of albatross watching. Clearly, the winter
season had begun in earnest.
At the 80-fathom line, we encountered small
groups of Fairy Prions and a NORTHERN
GIANT-PETREL. Continuing eastwards toward the
continental slope, more prions were around us but
all that offered close inspection were Fairy
Prions. At the edge of the continental shelf a
female Gibson's Albatross arrived and soon after
sharp eyes picked out an adult BULLER'S ALBATROSS
in the distance. A Wilson's Storm-Petrel
appeared while we drifted and enjoyed close up
views of six albatross species foraging at our
stern. Venturing into deeper water, we began to
encounter petrels and soon Solander's, nominate
race Great-winged and Cape Petrel were in view.
We began a drift-and-berley session and gradually
began to attract greater seabird numbers but no
new species for the daily tally.
As we began our voyage back to port we had a
brief glimpse of several Oceanic Bottle-nosed
Dolphins surfing down a large swell and at the
edge of the continental shelf those who happened
to be looking in the right direction witnessed a
Minke Whale spy hop. The Fairy Prions were still
in evidence at the 80-fathom line along with
another Wilson's Storm Petrel. A second BULLER'S
ALBATROSS joined the one that had been following
us for several hours along with another Cape
Petrel and additional brown Skuas and Gibson's
Albatross also tagged along.
Once more inshore, small groups of southward
bound Fluttering Shearwaters passed astern and
several first winter Kelp Gulls were among the
Sliver Gulls. Still several miles offshore, an
adult White-bellied Sea-Eagle passed overhead and
continued purposefully toward New Zealand. The
unexpected finale to the day was a sub-adult
A wonderful day on calm ocean with a
roller-coaster swell, the return of winter being
heralded by the presence of 6 species of
albatross, including 2 stunning adult BULLER'S
and an unusually high number of SHY ALBATROSS.
In total, 14 species of procellariiformes were
identified with several sightings of cetaceans
adding depth to the overall experience. An
ARCTIC TERN topped off the day nicely.
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)
929 SOUTHERN GIANT-PETREL Macronectes giganteus 1
937 NORTHERN GIANT-PETREL M. halli 1
080 Cape Petrel Daption capense australe 2 (1)
075 Great-winged Petrel Pterodroma m. macroptera 7 (3)
971 Solander's Petrel P. solandri 5 (2)
083 Fairy Prion Pachyptila turtur 65+ (35+)
068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 10 (3)
847 Gibson's Albatross Diomedea gibsoni 5 (3)
088 Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophrys 28 (8)
859 Campbell Albatross T. impavida 15 (7)
931 BULLER'S ALBATROSS T. bulleri 2 (2)
861 SHY ALBATROSS T. cauta 10 (6)
864 Indic Yellow-nosed Albatross T. carteri 21 (8)
063 Wilson's Storm-Petrel Oceanites oceanicus 2 (1)
104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 11 (2)
106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 1
981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 3 (3)
125 Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae 74 (33)
114 White-fronted Tern Sterna striata 10 (3)
115 Crested Tern S. bergii 35 (19)
952 ARCTIC TERN S. paradisaea 1
In the harbour:
193 Striated Heron Ardeola striatus macrorhynchus 1
096 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 2 (2)
100 Little Pied Cormorant P. melanoleucos 4 (3)
106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 2 (2)
115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 2 (2)
21 species of seabird identified outside the breakwater.
226 White-bellied Sea-Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster 1
Humpback Whale Megaptera novaeangliae 3 (3)
Minke Whale Balaenoptera acutorostrata 1
Oceanic Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops truncates 3 (3)
For previous trip reports and selected images from this trip visit
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
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
Barbara Jones or Ph (02) 6495 7390
Note: SOSSA = Southern Oceans Seabird Study Association
Dr P.J. Milburn
ANU ACRF 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 9533
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