PELAGIC TRIP OFF PORT FAIRY, VIC, Saturday 5th April 2008

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Subject: PELAGIC TRIP OFF PORT FAIRY, VIC, Saturday 5th April 2008
From: R Clarke <>
Date: Tue, 8 Apr 2008 09:10:37 +1000

 April 2008

This was an extra trip
put on for members of the School of Life and Environmental Science, Deakin 

OBSERVERS: Fiona Bear, Andrew Bennett, Sarah
Brown, Murray Gunn, Katrina Lumb, Dale Nimmo, Nicole Schumann,
Rick Taylor, Stacy, Mark Tessier, Simon Watson, & Rohan Clarke (organiser
and report compiler).

WEATHER: Complete cloud in the morning through
till ~1030, clearing through the day so that by our return to Port Fairy it was
bright and sunny with about 40% high hazy cloud. Good visibility. Mild. A 10-15
knot westerly as we headed out made for somewhat bumpy conditions with some
spray. A 5-10 knot wind persisted while we were beyond the shelf though this
moderated as we headed back in so that by Lady Julia Percy Island it was < 5 

SEA: 2.5-3.5 m swell with occasional larger sets
to 4+m. A 1-1.5 m chop on this made for a rough ride on the way out. Conditions
moderated in offshore waters with the sea dropping to 0.5-1 m. The swell
remained largely unchanged through the day but the chop continued to moderate
such that the return leg (with a following sea and light following wind) was
very pleasant. Although rough in the morning, a fairly comfortable ride for the
remainder of the day. Not one person was seasick; a good outcome given 9 of the
participants were first timers.

ACTIVITY: Sailed at 0730 ESST (the last day of
daylight savings). Headed directly to the shelf break with one short stop for a
Common Diving Petrel that proved uncooperative. Crossed the shelf break (100
fathoms) at 1000 to make our first stop at 38º49.10’S 141º53.54’E over 260
fathoms of water were we berleyed with shark liver. Two further stops were made
at 38º52.26’S 141º50.12’E, and then at 38º47.75’S 141º52.84’E before heading
back in at 1300. Several small patches of krill were visible at the sea surface
around the 60 fathom mark on the return leg. We cruised the shores of Lady
Julia Percy Island (LJPI) between 1450 and 1520 before docking in Port Fairy at
around 1620. 


1,000s of Australian Fur Seals at LJPI. Also ~12,
mostly yearlings, at sea. One yearling on LJPI was entangled in heavy green 

A pod of 5 Common Dolphins were encountered at
38º26.14’S 141º59.40’E over 22 fathoms and showed passing interest in the boat.

BIRDS: 22 species beyond the river mouth
indicated average diversity. Numbers of individuals were generally low
throughout the day with the exception of storm-petrels. Highlights were the 
Petrel, the high number of storm-petrels and excellent views of 6 albatross
taxa together at the back of the boat.

Little Penguin: 1 inshore in the am.

Great-winged Petrel: 50 (15). Approximately 2/3
were nominate race the remainder were gouldii.
All pelagic.

GOULD'S PETREL: 1 very close to the boat whilst
cruising between berley sites beyond the shelf. We stopped immediately but it
did not return.

Common Diving Petrel: 1 offshore in the am.

Fairy Prion: 100 (30) mostly over krill patches
in offshore waters. Beyond the shelf we attracted singles on two occasions.

Southern Giant-Petrel: 1. A juvenile in the am
in inshore waters. A second unidentified Giant Petrel was seen near LJPI in the

Wandering Albatross: 5 individuals on plumage;
at least 2 gibsoni and one exulens type (the later a huge juvenile).

Black-browed Albatross:

nom. race: 17 (4). 15
pelagic, 2 offshore, mostly adults but 3 imms pelagic.

impavida: 12 (7).
All adults. All pelagic.

Shy Albatross cauta: 35 (7). 7 inshore, 4
offshore, remainder pelagic. Mostly adult, 2 imms offshore, 1 pelagic.

Yellow-nosed Albatross: 6 (2). All pelagic. 1
imm, remainder adults. 

Buller’s Albatross: 5 (3). All pelagic. All

Grey-backed Storm-Petrel: 3 (2). All pelagic.

Wilson’s Storm-Petrel: 150 (70). Mostly pelagic, 6
offshore. Feeding ravenously on berley and making repeated close approaches.
Some excellent photographic opportunities.

White-faced Storm-Petrel: 60 (20). Mostly
offshore in the vicinity of krill patches but 8 pelagic. Some very tatty
individuals in active primary moult.

Short-tailed Shearwater: 30 (10). Mostly
inshore, 2 pelagic.

Fluttering Shearwater: 2 inshore in am, another
2 inshore in pm.

Black-faced Cormorant: 10 on LJPI.

Australasian Gannet: 70 (10), 8 offshore, 3
pelagic, remainder inshore. All adults, bar one fresh juvenile.

Kelp Gull: 16 on LJPI.

Gull: 20 on LJPI and 30 inshore.

Gull: 1 inshore in the am.

Tern: 30 (10). Mostly inshore, but 4 pelagic and 5 on LJPI.

On LJPI Sooty Oystercatcher (1), Swamp Harrier (3), Nankeen
Kestrel (1), White-faced Heron (1), Welcome Swallow (6+) and a Starling (2) 
out the list.



Rohan Clarke

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