Portland Vic Pelagic trip report 7th Nov 2009

To: <>
Subject: Portland Vic Pelagic trip report 7th Nov 2009
From: <>
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 2009 09:04:40 +1100
Hi All,

Here's a trip report for the pelagic that got out off Portland, western Vic on 
the weekend. Now that the boat based at Port Fairy has been sold and trips from 
there have ceased, this was a trial of a potential vessel for more regular use. 
Chris Lester remains the primary organiser for the Birds Australia VicGroup 
Pelagics off western Victoria. In due course he will make a post concerning 
future arrangements.


Rohan Clarke

Pelagic off Portland, Victoria, Sun 7 November 2009

Participants: Chris Lester (organiser), Rosemary Lester, Peter Crabtree, Frank 
Pierce, Anne-Maree Burgoine, John Barkla, Alison Street, Rohan Clarke (report 

Activity: Departed Portland harbour jetty at 0715, passing between Lawrence 
Rocks and Point Danger before heading south west to the shelf. Travelling at 20 
knots we reached the shelf at 0845 and the first berley point at 0900 (38 44.15 
E, 141 23.69 S ~450 m). Berleyed here till 1100 before moving out into deeper 
water (1000m) for a second drift and berley session. Moving around an area 
known locally as the Horseshoe we berleyed at a further two locations (over 
500-800m and then later over 200-300m) before heading back in at 1505. Cruised 
down the eastern side of Lawrence Rocks observing the thousands of gannets and 
other wildlife ashore here before running back to the harbour, arriving at 
1650. This was a fast boat (top speed that I noted for the day was 24 knots) 
meaning one could expect to reach the shelf in just over an hour.

Conditions/Activity: Throughout the day the sea was calm on a very gentle swell 
< 1m, while the wind was < 5 knots and variable. Generally bright, well lit 
conditions with little cloud. These conditions made for a very pleasant day at 
sea but the lack of wind meant bird activity was probably reduced with few 
species/individuals actively seeking us out - a rather low count of 18 species 
of bird recorded beyond the harbour breakwater reflects this. Highlight for the 
day was the SOUTHERN FULMAR that stayed with us for over an hour. Otherwise a 
little quite with few birds showing interest in the berley.


Bottle-nosed Dolphins: At least 3 on the way out in inshore waters.

Common Dolphin: Common in offshore waters. A group of 10 on the way out then 
two pods (30 and 80) at distance from the first berley point. In offshore 
waters on the return leg we passed through a dispersed pod of feeding animals 
that numbered at least several hundred individuals.

Australian Fur Seal. 1 over the shelf at the last berley point, 2 in inshore 
waters as we returned and about 15 hauled out on Lawrence Rocks.


Black-browed Albatross melanophris 2 (2). Both were immatures/sub-adults at the 
first berley point.

Shy Albatross cauta: 50 (15). 2 in inshore waters, 4 in offshore waters, 
remainder pelagic. All adults.

Yellow-nosed Albatross: 1. A sub-adult at the first berley point was the only 
one for the day.

SOUTHERN FULMAR: 1. A single bird that came in at the first berley point and 
stayed for over an hour before we left it sitting on the water. At times it 
tugged at the berley bag just 1 m from the back of the boat and was too close 
to photograph with telephoto lenses. Photographs of this bird can be found here.

Cape Petrel: 2 (1) but different birds on plumage. Both of the nominate race 
with one at the first berley point and the other at the second berley point.

Northern Giant-Petrel: 1 An immature at the first berley point followed us to 
our second stop. 2 distant giant-petrels in inshore waters and 1 in offshore 
waters were not identified to species.

White-chinned Petrel: 4 (4) All together at the first berley point. Just a 
single at the second berley point and no further birds noted for the remainder 
of the day.

Common Diving Petrel: 4 (1). All pelagic and flying past whilst we berleyed. 
Excellent views of several.

Great-winged Petrel: 15 (8). 13 gouldi (many in heavy primary moult) and 2 
macroptera. All pelagic.

Wilson's Storm-Petrel: 8 (5). All pelagic.

Fairy Prion: 300 (100). 80 offshore, remainder pelagic. Generally 5-10 at 
berley points but occasional larger rafts up to 100.

Short-tailed Shearwater: ~3000 (1500). Mostly offshore, but scattered birds 
resting on the water throughout the day. Also one of the more common pelagic 
species with up to 80 at a single berley stop. (No Sooty Shearwaters were seen).

Fluttering Shearwater: 2 (1). Both in inshore waters in the am.

Black-faced Cormorant: 1 inshore in the am, a second (or the same bird) on our 
return in the pm and 85 ashore at Lawrence Rocks in the pm.

Crested Tern: 6 (2). 3 inshore, 3 pelagic.

White-fronted Tern 4 (2). Fairly tatty looking individuals with traces of 
immature plumage. All pelagic. Surprisingly late birds.

Kelp Gull: 4 on Lawrence Rocks in the pm.

Pacific Gull: 2 on Lawrence Rocks in the pm.

Welcome Swallow (1) and Sooty Oystercatcher (2) on Lawrence Rocks rounded out 
the list.

Rohan Clarke

To unsubscribe from this mailing list,
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)
<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • Portland Vic Pelagic trip report 7th Nov 2009, rohan <=

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU