New Zealand Storm-petrel seen off Port Stephens, NSW (and 2nd record alr

To: Mick Roderick <>
Subject: New Zealand Storm-petrel seen off Port Stephens, NSW (and 2nd record already)
From: Laurie Knight <>
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 2010 22:18:10 +1000
Thanks Mick.

According to Google Earth, Port Stephens to Ulladulla is about 330 km [the distance between the sightings will be a bit different]. A bird travelling that distance in 20 hours would need to average about 15 km/ hr. Which way was the wind blowing?

Regards, Laurie.

On 29/03/2010, at 4:29 PM, Mick Roderick wrote:

Hi everyone,

A bird that was almost certainly a New Zealand Storm-petrel was seen by 12 observers on a pelagic trip that I ran off Port Stephens yesterday. We all had good to reasonable views of the bird, which was seen just to the north of 32 57 10 / 152 36 35 (sorry, no GPS co- ordinates were taken at the time of the observation but it would have been very close to this point, less than a nautical mile anyway) at about 1215 yesterday afternoon.

Without going into too much detail about the bird, it clearly possessed all of the distinguishing features of a NZ Storm-petrel, most notably the dark "streaked" markings on the belly and flanks. Also distinguishing the bird from Fregetta Storm-petrels were the size, projection of legs beyond the tail, the amount of white on the rump and behaviour (jizz was similar to Wilson's which were around the boat also). Images can be seen at - I hope the link works.

Myself and Allan Richardson have been trawling through all of the available information and it appears that there is little doubt in the identification of the bird as a New Zealand Storm-petrel. This I believe would be a first for Australia.

But get this - I was contacted by Dan Mantle just a few hours ago. Dan is currently aboard the SOSSA Deep Sea pelagic trip off Ulladulla. Remarkably, they had a NZ Stormy around their boat at about 0900 this morning! Their observation was about 10nm east of the shelf. They had excellent views and have better photographs than our bird (which never really came within 40 or 50m of the boat). So we have a probable Australian first and then the second record the following day!

The chances of this being the same bird as ours are likely to be quite remote (happy to be proven wrong). Perhaps there are some birds "moving through" with the Wilson's Storm-petrels, or got "caught up" with them? Wilson's are in good numbers at the moment - we had about 40 around the boat at one stage and Dan informs me that the deep sea trip had 100+ at one point. Clearly we know extremely little about anything to do with NZ Stormies, let alone what their movements etc might be, but with 2 records off the NSW central / south coasts in 24 hours, it may not be a ridiculous suggestion that the species could be targeted at the moment. I can provide contact details for a boat that can run off Port Stephens if people are that keen!

Full trip reports will follow for the double-header pelagics that I ran off Port Stephens on the weekend. And what an amazing weekend it was. Apart from the NZ Stormy, we also had a Common Noddy and one, maybe 2 Gould's Petrels yesterday (and about 60-80 Wilson's SP), and on Saturday we had a White-bellied Storm-petrel, Tahiti Petrel, 2 Streaked Shearwaters and became what surely must be the first pelagic trip to record both Brown and Red-footed Boobies on the same day off NSW.


Mick Roderick

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