Southport Pelagic 15th September 07.

To: <>
Subject: Southport Pelagic 15th September 07.
From: "Paul Walbridge" <>
Date: Wed, 19 Sep 2007 07:41:33 +1000
Hi Folks, below is last saturdays Southport Pelagic report.

Weather Conditions: A High over southern Australia combined with a weak ridge 
along the Queensland coastline produced mainly moderate NW-N winds over 
southeast Queensland. Generally clear skies, with good visibility. Air 
28C, barometric pressure 1016 hPa. Sea conditions: Fairly light seas on a 
moderate swell on leaving the seaway, with conditions deteriorating as the 
morning wore on. At the widest drift winds had swung to due north at 25 knots 
and this combined with a southerly swell and north to south current really 
bumped up the waves leading to uncomfortable & at times wet conditions. Sea 
surface temps. 20.4 C at the Seaway, 21.8 C at the Shelf-break with a warmer 
current of 22.8 at the widest drift. Vessel: M.V. GrinnerSkipper: Craig 
NewtonDeckie: Gail Leader: Paul WalbridgePatrons: Dave Stewart, Brian Russell, 
Chris Barnes, Rod Gardner, Denis Gosper, Xenia Dennit, Steve Murray, Steve 
Mcbride, John Norling, Eric Tull & Brooke, Willem Renema, Antii Kause. This was 
to be a day that three of Southport’s specialty birds really turned up to be 
counted!  Left the Seaway at 0630 hrs and arrived back at 1600 hrs * duration 
of trip 9 hrs 30 mins.The initial approach was to head for a local seamount 
known as Jim’s Mountain some 26 nms ENE of the Seaway but by the time we 
reached the shelf-break it was decided to take a more comfortable option of 
heading to a spot a few nms south west of there but still in ‘slope’ waters.  
Just after leaving the seaway, Craig the skipper tied a rope around a fairly 
large tuna and after a few knife slashes tossed it over the stern and we towed 
it out over the Shelf. The theory is bits and pieces gradually break of in the 
wake and a slick forms * it really works and before long we had up to 14 
Wedge-tailed Shearwaters following the vessel without having to chum. Cool, 
seabird photographers will know that the best shots of seabirds in flight are 
achieved when the vessel is in motion and the birds are following close behind. 
For many onboard it was either their first pelagic or first Oz pelagic so it 
was a welcome photo opportunity, A lone Hutton’s Shearwater was the only thing 
of note crossing the ‘abyssmal plain’ and just after crossing the Shelf-break 
someone shouted albatross, so we stopped as a Wandering type, too distant to 
specify which, passed astern of the vessel. We chucked a bit of sharks liver 
over but it kept going its merry way southward, however soon after, the first 
Tahiti Petrel of the spring honed in on the slick followed quickly by several 
Wedge-tailed Shearwaters.  We decided to move on for another couple kilometres 
south,to another known ridge before stopping for a drift. It wasn’t long before 
the first Kermadec Petrel (an all dark morph) showed up, followed quickly by 
Wilson’s & Black-bellied Storm Petrels plus Providence and Tahiti Petrels. Over 
the next hour or so waves of birds, of various species passed through, moving 
down the slick, when suddenly the bird of the day appeared alongside the 
vessel, a very early Black Petrel, which appeared on and off over the next half 
an hour or so. By now, even more Kermadec Petrels of various morphs plus 
increasing numbers of Black-bellied Storm Petrels & Tahiti Petrels were turning 
up. Also small numbers of Wilson’s Storm Petrels, Providence Petrels, Sooty 
Terns & Common Noddies. This would have to be the first trip I’ve ever been on 
where Kermadec Petrels outnumbered Providence by two to one! At 1245 hrs it was 
time to call it a day as the conditions meant it would be a fairly slow trip 
back. Little to report on the way back save for a lone Little Tern and one or 
two very shy Humpback Whales and some more Australasian Gannets. All in all a 
very satisfying day with everyone pretty pleased with the outcome despite the 
rigorous conditions (only 2 people sick though). SPECIES:  Tahiti Petrel * 25 
(6)Providence Petrel * 4 (2)Kermadec Petrel * 8 (2)Black Petrel * 1Wedge-tailed 
Shearwater - 125 (30)Flesh-footed Shearwater -2Hutton’s Shearwater * 1Wandering 
Albatross -1Wilson’s Storm Petrel * 4 (2)Black-bellied Storm Petrel * 31 
(5)Australasian Gannet * 6Silver Gull * 1Crested Tern * 2Little Tern * 1Sooty 
Tern * 9 (5)Common Noddy * 2 Cetaceans :  Humpback Whale * 4Pantropical Spotted 
Dolphins * 20-30     Next trip is October 13th, hope you can join us.  Cheers * 
Paul W.

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