Southport Pelagic 20th Feb 2010.

To: Birding-aus <>
Subject: Southport Pelagic 20th Feb 2010.
Date: Sun, 21 Feb 2010 23:15:16 +0000
"a sub-adult White-tailed Tropicbird was flushed up off the water"

Showing my ignorance here, but I didn't think they could sit on the water. I don't know where I got the idea, from but I assumed they weren't waterproof!

John Leonard

On , Paul Walbridge <> wrote:
Hi All, here is the full report for Saturdays Southport Pelagic.

SouthportPelagic Trip Report 20/2/2010

Vessel: MVGrinner.

Skipper: Craig Newton.

Leader & Organizer: Paul Walbridge

Pax: Owen Prowse, Chris Sanderson, Dave Stickney, Brian Russell, Martin

Cake, Andy Jensen, Stuart Pickering, Steve Murray, Tom Tarrant, Brian

Coates, Richard Fuller, Rob Morris, Chris Barnes, Andrew Stafford.

Weather Conditions: A high over the Tasman Sea formed a ridge along the

Queensland coast bringing moderate to strong south-easterly winds into

South-east Queensland waters. Generally a fine day with a few scattered

squally showers inshore. Offshore, just some light cloud mainly clear

conditions and excellent visibility. Wind, from the SW early, before

leaving the Seaway then turning to SE, then more easterly later in the

day. Wind speed varied from 10-17 knots. Maximum air temp. 28* C,

barometric pressure 1020 hPa.

Sea Conditions: Moderate seas for most of the day on a swell of up 2.5

metres at times which gradually levelled out as the day progressed. Sea

surface temps. 25.9* C at the Seaway, rising to 26.8* C across the Shelf

and 27.8* C at the Shelf-break. EAC out wide running at 3.5-4 knots.

Summary: Left the Southport Seaway at 0620 hrs rather carefully as a

combination of low tide and big swell made for a bumpy ride to say the

least. With a strong current running against a SE swell we headed out

over the Shelf in an ESE direction, arriving at the Shelf-break at 1000

hrs and starting the first drift at 1010 hrs, approx. 26 nm ESE of the

Seaway. Rode down the burley slick and started a 2nd drift at 1107 hrs

before heading for home at 1200 hrs. Arrived back at the Seaway at 1540

hrs, total duration of trip, 9 hs 20 min.

On leaving the Seaway there was very little activity as, due to the

conditions there were no returning trawlers and few charters going out,

just a few terns, Pomarine Jaegers and Wedge-tailed Shearwaters. The

Skipper loaded up the berley bag halfway across the Shelf and

immediately brought in some Wedge-tailed and Flesh-footed Shearwaters

plus a couple of prospecting Poms. The occasional Sooty Tern with young

in tow started to appear, along with the first Hutton*s Shearwater and

the first Tahiti Petrel of the day crossing the stern well before the


Started the first drift just after crossing the Shelf-break and began

berleying with immediate results. The always exciting *what*s this,

it*sa cookilaria* shout cried out and a Black-winged Petrel circled

the vessel, almost immediately joined by a Gould*s. At one point the

two crossed astern, side by side, providing virtual field-guide

comparison, only better, the more experienced punters on board

explaining the major differences between the two. Another Gould*s

Petrel appeared and not long after a second Black-winged Petrel. Over

the next hour several new birds appeared, notably two more Gould*s

Petrels, a dark phase Kermadec Petrel and also a Bridled Tern,

surprisingly a species rarely seen on SEQ pelagics.

After approx. an hour at this drift we decided to head down the slick

to where we could see a mass of feeding Shearwaters (for most of the day

the sounder was indicating lots of mid-water baitfish). On stopping,

there were quite a few Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and a few Sooty Terns

with the occasional Tahiti Petrel and the only Great-winged Petrel of

the day putting in an appearance. On the first drift there had been a

probable sighting of White-necked Petrel albeit distant and just before

midday the first of three positive sightings of this species appeared,

the second bird, first sighted on the water, put on quite a show, by now

CF cards were in meltdown.

Due to the current and tide we had drifted considerably south and it

would be quite a hard slog back, so we headed inshore diagonally back to

the Seaway. Arriving back on the Shelf, 3 large birds appeared from high

up, showing interest in the few shearwaters following the vessel, an

adult male, adult female and juvenile Lesser Frigatebirds, Not long

afterwards a sub-adult White-tailed Tropicbird was flushed up of the

water and provided brilliant views. On approaching the Seaway just a few

shearwaters and terns were noted plus a couple of Pomarine Jaegers.


White-tailed Tropicbird * 1

Wedge-tailed Shearwater - 339 (150)

Flesh-footed Shearwater * 16 (3)

Hutton*s Shearwater * 3 (1)

Tahiti Petrel * 10 (4)

Kermadec Petrel * 1

Great-winged Petrel * 1

Gould*s Petrel * 4 (2)

White-necked Petrel * 3+ (1)

Black-winged Petrel * 2 (2)

Lesser Frigatebird * 3 (3)

Great Cormorant * 1

Pied Cormorant * 1

Pomarine Jaeger * 9 (2)

Bridled Tern * 1

Sooty Tern * 11 (4)

Little Tern * 1

Common Tern * 3

Crested Tern * 5 (2)

Silver Gull * 1


Offshore Bottlenose Dolphin * 100+

Common Dolphin (Long-beaked) * 10+

This wasn*t the best pelagic I have been on in SEQ but maybe comes

close. I have been on a few that were better over the years however.

There are a few spots left on the March 20th trip, which is potentially

better than February.

Cheers * Paul W.

Contact: Paul Walbridge; Ph: (H) 3256 4124 (W) 3139 4555 E- Mail:


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