NSW Seawatch from Magic Pt Maroubra - 30th June 2007

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Subject: NSW Seawatch from Magic Pt Maroubra - 30th June 2007
From: "Edwin Vella" <>
Date: Sun, 1 Jul 2007 10:01:57 +1000
Yesterday afternoon (30th June 2007), David Mitford and I spent a few hours
sea watching from Magic Pt Maroubra. Winds this time were mainly westerly
producing calmer conditions and hardly any swell inshore. Despite these calm
conditions, the afternoon certainly produced some good sea watching.

The main highlight for the afternoon was an over wintering light-phase
Arctic Jaeger. David has seen a few Arctic Jaegers last winter off Maroubra
and even a Pomarine Jaeger from here this winter. When we initially saw the
Jaeger in the distance we were certainly wondering what it could have been
until it was identifiable at a much closer range. Jaegers are usually only
present from September to April off Maroubra.

Yesterday afternoon, there was also a feeding frenzy off Maroubra for most
of the time we were there with lots of Gannets and Silver Gulls feeding
joined also by a few Cape Petrels, Prions (probably all Fairy), Shearwaters
and Crested Terns.

Another good highlight for the afternoon was watching a pair of Peregrine
Falcons chasing Feral Pigeons (we watched 2 pursuits that afternoon at close
range). On one instance, we watched the pair of Peregrines chase a pigeon
over several minutes with one of the Falcons managing to pluck away a few
feathers from the pigeon but the Falcons then gave up the pursuit when that
pigeon landed on the sea. I have never seen so many Feral Pigeons out at sea
during a sea watch. There was a flock of about 20 Feral Pigeons flying
together a few km out at sea. The Peregrines must have chased all these
pigeons out to sea. The resident Australian Kestrels were also present that
afternoon at Magic Pt.

I was also surprised to see 2 Great-winged Petrels that afternoon and these
were the first ones I've seen in rather calm conditions during a land based
sea watch. David says he has seen them previously in such conditions late in
the day. We do find at times some of the pelagic species do come close to
the coast in the late hours of the day like Albatrosses and Jaegers. One of
the Great-winged Petrels seen was quite close to shore with little arcing
and a slower flight than what I am used to seeing them on a sea watch in
much windier days.

I also saw my first Humpbacked Whales this year with 2 sightings of 2
individuals a few kilometres out that afternoon.

Our list and numbers of sea birds recorded that afternoon (within the time
period 1330 to 1700) included:

Fairy Penguin (heard)

Black-browed Albatross (30)

Yellow-nosed Albatross (5)

Shy Albatross (1)

Giant Petrel species (3)

Cape Petrel (4)

Great-winged Petrel (2)

Prion species (4)

Fluttering Shearwater (41)

Australasian Gannet (250)

Little Black Cormorant (3)

Great Cormorant (3)

Arctic Jaeger (1)

Brown Skua (2)

Silver Gull (100)

Crested Tern (20)

White-fronted Tern (3)

Mammals recorded:

Humpbacked Whale (4)

Until next time

Edwin Vella

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