This morning (15/6/08), David Mitford and I enjoyed another superb sea watch
from Magic Pt in Maroubra (approx. 10 km south of Sydney CBD). Winds this
morning were moderate southerly (SW to SE) with coastal showers at times later
in the morning.
It all started when as I was at home having breakfast at about 8 am, David
called me on my mobile and told me with excitement that one of the first birds
he had seen on arriving at Magic Pt was an an adult BULLERS ALBATROSS and seen
so close to the cliff that he could see with his naked eyes. David said it
appeared to be feeding on floating squid amongst many other albatrosses. This
excited me as well as David. We had often talked previously that after so many
hours of sea watching over the last 10 or so years how come we have not seen a
single Buller's Alabtross after sorting out countless numbers of Black-browed
and the other small albatrosses. An adult Buller's Albatross at close range is
not to be easily mistaken with any other albatrosses (their distinct
characteristics stand out well) so we would not have previously overlooked
these adult birds on previous sea watches.
As I was driving to Maroubra (a 45 minute drive from home) I was not keeping my
hopes high that the Buller's Albatross would appear again this morning. However
this was not my only motive to head out to Maroubra as I anticipated great sea
watching conditions for this morning.
On arriving at the car park near at the southern end of Maroubra, I got another
call from David, to say that he had just seen the Buller's Albatross again.
Again my hopes were not high and as I took the 15 minute walk to Magic Pt from
the car park. On arriving at Magic Pt, David said that I had missed the
Buller's Albatross by 5 minutes!
Oh well I thought.
However, not too soon after I set up my scope, David pointed out an Albatross
far away and in the thick of the rain which we suspected could have been the
Buller's but it was only considered probable.
Anyway after an hour later, we watched a Wandering Alabtross come in close and
David then drew to my attention that the Buller's was just behind it! I could
not believe my eyes. The BULLER's ALBATROSS was another Maroubra and Sydney
tick for both of us! I have only also seen Buller's Albatross on a pelagic off
Wollongong back in the MAGIC 1999 year (how can many forget that year eah!).
That year was the MEGA year!!!
Anyway our other highlights this morning was a very close in PROVIDENCE PETREL
(our second sighting in almost a week), a very close in NORTHERN GIANT PETREL,
a few Great-winged Petrels, several Wandering and Shy Albatrosses amongst the
many Black-browed Albatross but only 2 Yellow-nosed Albatross (they were living
up to the fact of being mainly an afternoon bird as I have mentioned on my
previous emails), Prions, and a few over-wintering Sooty and Short-tailed
At least 2 Humpbacked Whales migrating north also put on a brief but good show
close to shore and 2 Eastern Reef Egrets flew past Magic Pt (one after the
Our list of seabirds recorded (approximate numbers in brackets) during this
morning's sea watch from Magic Pt included the following:
Fairy Penguin (heard)
Black-browed Abatross (60)
Yellow-nosed Albatross (2)
BULLER'S ALBATROSS (1) (seen on 3 occassions in the morning but we suspect the
Shy Albatross (10)
Wandering Albatross (9)
NORTHERN GIANT PETREL (1)
GIANT PETREL species unidentified (6)
PROVIDENCE PETREL (1)
Great-winged Petrel (4)
Prion species (5)
Sooty Shearewater (6)
Short-tailed Shearwater (2)
Fluttering Shearwater (30)
Australasian Gannet (300 plus)
Pied Cormorant (1)
Brown Skua (1)
Kelp Gull (1)
Silver Gull (100 plus)
Crested Tern (10 plus)
White-fronted Tern (1)
Humpbacked Whale (2)
Bottle-nosed Dolphin (10)
Fur Seal species (1)
This is what great birding is all about!
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