Eden Pelagic, 24-25 May 2008

Subject: Eden Pelagic, 24-25 May 2008
From: "Nathan Waugh" <>
Date: Sun, 1 Jun 2008 11:46:01 +0800
EDEN Pelagic Trip, NSW
Saturday 24th May 08 and Sunday 25th May 08

Thanks special thanks from everyone goes out to Simon Mustoe for organising
the trip.

OBSERVERS:  Nathan Waugh (Leader), Leanna Maffesoni, Paul Taylor, Grant
Penrhyn, Jennifer Spry, Ray Turnbull, Robyn Woodward, Sue Lashko, Julie
McGuinness, Kathy Walter and John Goldie.

WEATHER: A high pressure over the Tasman provided calm stable conditions for
both Saturday and Sunday. Winds on Saturday ranged from 5-13 knots (gusting
to 18knots). Winds on Sunday were almost non existent (0-5 knots). Fine and
sunny conditions throughout provided excellent opportunities for observing.

SEA: Conditions on Saturday were slightly choppy seas (up to 0.5m) on a 1 -
2m swell. Sundays conditions were even calmer with seas being 0 - 0.5m on a
0.5 - 1m swell.

ACTIVITY: Sailed at 0700hrs on Saturday. At the first stop, just past the
first drop off (120 fathoms), a trawler was seen in the distance. The
trawler was followed for an hour or so with with a single *Light-mantled
Sooty Albatross *being observed at a great distance by a few observers.  A
single *Black-bellied Storm Petrel* provided great views at close range
shortly after spotting the Light mantled (photographs proved the identity of
this bird). High numbers of Buller's Albatross provided excellent viewing
for the rest of the day. Returned at 1600hrs.

We left at 0700hrs on Sunday and headed straight for the second drop off,
about 26Nm offshore (1000+ fathoms). Once getting past the first drop off
birds observed included a close pass by a lone adult *Light-mantled Sooty
Albatross*, a Black-bellied/White-bellied Storm Petrel flew straight past
the bow of the boat. Soon afterwards a single *Kermadec Petrel* passed the
boat providing excellent but brief views for all. A call then came over the
radio shortly after we started chumming  over the shelf of a pod of Killer
Whales about 5Nm inshore (10:30am). We ended up seeing the Killer Whales and
hung around them for the remainder of our time out there. Species found in
association with the Killer Whales were Buller's Albatross, a lone Brown
Skua and Great-winged Petrels. Returned at 1615hrs.

MAMMALS: Australian Fur Seals 5 associated with bycatch from the fishing
trawler, and 5 on Sunday.
Short-beaked Common Dolphin: A pod of 8 passed the boat on Sunday just out
of Twofold Bay and another just passed the first drop off after seeing the
Light Mantled Sooty Albatross.
KILLER WHALE 8 (6): At least 6 whales present, including two males. Observed
over a period of about 2 hours out past the first drop off (300 fathoms).

BIRDS: 20 pelagic species were identified over the two days. Highlights
included two separate sightings of *Light-mantled Sooty Albatross*, at least
one *Black-bellied Storm Petrel* and some close passes by *Kermadec Petrel*.

 Wandering Albatross: 4 individuals on plumage
Black-browed Albatross: nominate race 15.   impavida 5
Shy Albatross: 300 (200)
Yellow-nosed Albatross: 10 (4)
Buller's Albatross: 30 (6)
 LIGHT-MANTLED SOOTY ALBATROSS: 2. 1 bird sighted (distant) on the first day
associated with a fishing trawler out over the shelf. Another (adult) made a
single close pass to the boat on the second day providing great views
(though brief).
Fairy Prion: 400 (100)
 Sooty Shearwater: 2 (1)
Fluttering Shearwater: 30
 Great-winged Petrel: 50 (30). All but a few in deep waters out past the
Solander's Petrel 9 (2): All out past the shelf.
KERMADEC PETREL: 2 (1). Both passing quite close to the boat (both were
intermediate phases).
Cape Petrel: 1 (nominate race)
Norther Giant Petrel: 1 (2)
Giant Petrel sp.: 1
BLACK-BELLIED STORM PETREL: 1, one made a few close passes of the boat
whilst in the vicinity of the fishing trawler out past the first drop off on
the first day.
(BLACK-BELLIED/WHITE-BELLIED) STORM PETREL sp.: 1, a single bird flew past
the boat very fast on the second day. Was first thought to be a grey-backed
strom petrel. Later dismissed due to a white rump. Obvious pale coverts are
what led to this initial miss-identification.
Common Diving Petrel: 2 (1). Both sighted inshore on the first day.
Little Penguin: 7 (7)
Australasian Gannet: 20 (7)
Brown Skua: 1
Crested Tern: 6 (3). Mostly inshore, but 12 offshore and 1 pelagic.
White-fronted Tern 2 (2)
Pacific Gull: 3
Silver Gull: 15 (8)

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