Short-tailed Shearwaters are back. St Helens, Tasmania

To: Birding-aus <>
Subject: Short-tailed Shearwaters are back. St Helens, Tasmania
From: Ian May <>
Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2007 15:46:07 +1000
g'Day all

Since Wednesday, near storm force westerly winds have been blowing across St Helens. Here in Tasmania at this time of year, with the "Roaring Forties" prevailing, it is a good time to be watching sea birds from land and so this morning for an hour, from a small promontory east of here, that is just what we decided to do.

From Grant's Point, 10 km from town we could see a myriad of Short-tailed Shearwaters; vast flocks comprising tens of thousands of birds forming vast dusky shimmers appearing like smoke drifting south across the horizon. Also scattered about the ocean were good numbers of Albatross; mainly Shy and Black-browed Albatross with an occasional Yellow-nosed Albatross passing by too.

And closer in shore there were the usual flypast of Gannets, Gulls, Cormorants and Terns but of greatest surprise was to observe several Shy Albatross descending like hang gliders from high altitude (estimated 600 - 800 feet above sea level). They were using what appeared to be coastal air thermals, approaching land still several hundred feet above the water and when almost above the cliffs wheeling to north while skimming down to wave height.

An interesting hour of pelagics from land.


Ian May

PO Box 110
St Helens Tasmania 7216
Phone (03) 63121123
Mob 0428337956

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