From: Peter Milburn <>
Date: Thu, 27 Sep 2007 12:20:56 +1000

Report prepared by: P.J. Milburn.

Departed: 07:15 returned at approx. 15:45.
Sea conditions: Gentle; SE/ESE seas at 1.0 to 1.5m.
Swell: SE to 1.0 to 2.5m.
Weather: Overcast with rain squalls at first, clearing to bright sunshine.
Temperature range: 12.8 to 23.3°C.
Barometric pressure: 1019 HPa falling.
Wind: SE 5 to 8 knots at first increasing to ESE
15 knots by mid morning but easing later.
Sea surface temperature: 17.5 to 20.4°C.
Primary chumming location: S 34° 28' - E 151° 19'.


A high-pressure system was located in the central
Tasman Sea with a trough of low pressure to the
north and a depression in the Great Australian
Bight moving slowly eastwards.  The strong
southerlies during the week had abated to modest
easterlies as the high moved offshore,
engendering expectations of an interesting
pelagic journey.

An unusual collection of birds were sighted
immediately offshore; a drake Chestnut Teal flew
north, then a Great Cormorant and bringing up the
rear of the procession was a NORTHERN
GIANT-PETREL.  A male Gibson's and an adult Indic
Yellow-nosed Albatross were foraging close
inshore.  Wedge-tailed Shearwaters had returned
in force but were heavily outnumbered by
Fluttering and, to a lesser extent, Hutton's
Shearwaters.  A small raft of Little Penguins, an
Australian Fur-Seal spotted by sharp eyes from
the upper deck and several Short-beaked Common
Dolphins added further variety.

At the outer reefs we encountered White-fronted
Terns, White-capped Albatross and the first Cape
Petrel of the day.  However, the dominant species
was Fluttering Shearwater with rafts of birds all
around us.  Beyond the outer reefs we ran over a
finger of warmer water that was to prove the hot
spot of the trip with birds appearing from all
directions.  From amidst the shearwater hordes a
WHITE-CHINNED PETREL appeared right over our
transom and several Brown Skuas appeared
overhead.  At least 2 first year SHY ALBATROSS
were dodging between numerous White-capped
Albatross and a SOUTHERN GIANT-PETREL and several
more Cape Petrels appeared over our wake.  As if
this were not enough to absorb in one moment, 2
WHITE-HEADED PETRELS closed on our starboard beam
and those with an eye for detail also logged the
first Solander's Petrel of the day.

Proceedings calmed somewhat thereafter; until 2
Humpback Whales surfaced close alongside at the
edge of the continental shelf.  These magnificent
animals surfaced repeatedly to within 10m of our
vessel and we all seemed to be in a state of
mutual fascination.  The enforced halt in our
cruise eastwards also turned out to be most
productive for seabirds; Cape and Grey-faced
Petrels, Giant-Petrels and Fairy Prions appeared
as if from nowhere.

We pulled up at the 250-fathom line for a long
drift-and-berley session and attracted an
impressive flock of 8 species of albatross. A
Wilson's Storm-Petrel appeared and joined the
burgeoning flock of CAPE PETRELS.   At least half
a dozen juvenile WANDERING ALBATROSS (2 with
French bands and 1 with a British band) dominated
the proceedings.

The albatross flock followed us for a long way on
our trip back to port and several more sightings
of Fur-Seals, Humpback Whale and Short-beaked
Common Dolphins provided additional
entertainment.  A solitary Kelp Gull followed us
for the last part of our cruise and the grand
finale was a first year SALVIN' S ALBATROSS that
cut across our wake just wide of the Flagstaff
Point lighthouse.


A wonderful cruise on a gentle sea produced an
impressive spectacle of marine wildlife with a
total of 23 species of procellariiformes being
recorded in a total of 31 seabirds species.  A
were greeted with great enthusiasm but those
thinking about the drive home missed the SALVIN'S
ALBATROSS right at the end of the day.

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)

005 Little Penguin Eudyptula minor  (4)
929 SOUTHERN GIANT-PETREL Macronectes giganteus 3 (3)
937 NORTHERN GIANT-PETREL M. halli 2 (1)
080 Cape Petrel Daption capense australe 20+ (17)
075 Grey-faced Petrel Pterodroma macroptera gouldi 3 (1)
077 WHITE-HEADED PETREL P. lessonii 2 (2)
971 Solander's Petrel P. solandri 14 (6)
915 WHITE-CHINNED PETREL Procellaria aequinoctialis 1
083 Fairy Prion Pachyptila turtur 10 (3)
068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 5000+ (2000+)
913 Hutton's Shearwater P. huttoni 250+ (100+)
069 Wedge-tailed Shearwater P. pacificus 145+ (85+)
071 Short-tailed Shearwater P. tenuirostris 1
086 WANDERING ALBATROSS Diomedea exulans 12 (7)
846 ANTIPODEAN ALBATROSS D. antipodensis 1
847 Gibson's Albatross D. gibsoni 18 (7)
088 Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophrys 8 (3)
859 Campbell Albatross T. impavida 3 (2)
861 SHY ALBATROSS T. cauta 3 (2)
861 White-capped Albatross T. steadi 12 (5)
862 SALVIN'S ALBATROSS T. salvini 1
864 Indic Yellow-nosed Albatross T. carteri 15 (6)
063 Wilson's Storm-Petrel Oceanites oceanicus 1
096 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1
104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 9 (6)
106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 1
980 Brown Skua Catharacta lonnbergi 5 (2)
981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 1
125 Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae 150+ (120+)
114 White-fronted Tern Sterna striata 13 (4)
115 Crested Tern S. bergii 23 (15)

In the harbour:

096 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1
099 Pied Cormorant P. varius 1
100 Little Pied Cormorant P. melanoleucos 1
106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 7 (7)

31 species of seabird identified outside the breakwater.

Other birds

226 White-bellied Sea-Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster 1 adult
210 Chestnut Teal  Anas castanea 1 male


Australian Fur Seal Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus 3 (1)
Humpback Whale Megaptera novaeangliae 5 (2)
Short-beaked Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 12 (5)




Short Sunfish Mola ramsayi 1

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)

Note:  SOSSA = Southern Oceans Seabird Study Association

Dr P.J. Milburn
Technical Specialist
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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