Portland pelagic trip report, Birds Australia Vic Group, 20 June 2010

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Subject: Portland pelagic trip report, Birds Australia Vic Group, 20 June 2010
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Date: Tue, 22 Jun 2010 07:26:07 +1000
Hi All,

Here's a trip report for the Birds Australia Vic Group pelagic that got off 
Portland, western Vic on Sunday.


Rohan Clarke

BA Vic Group Pelagic off Portland, Victoria, Sun 20 June 2010

Participants: Elizabeth Shaw, Alan Crawford, Adam Rigg, Anne-Marie Burgoine, 
Helen Snibson, Gil Langfield, Paul Dodd, Ruth Woodrow, George Appleby, Rosemary 
Lester, Chris Lester (organiser), Rohan Clarke (report compiler).

Activity: Departed Portland harbour aboard the 'Southern Pride' at 0805, 
passing between Lawrence Rocks and Point Danger and heading south south west to 
the shelf. When underway we travelled at 11-12 knots. A brief stop of ~10 mins 
was made over 80 fathoms of water, but the small numbers of prions showed no 
interest in berley so we proceeded to the shelf, crossing it at 1040 and 
stopping for a more extended berley session a few minutes later (38°45.67'E, 
141°32.25'S ~180 fathoms). Berleyed here till 1205 before moving to 38°46.04'E, 
141°27.78'S ~210 fathoms . We departed here at 1320 moving NW along the shelf 
and joining a trawler that had just finished hauling its catch. Here we 
completed a third drift and berley session again on the 200 fathom line at 38 
45.49 E, 141 28.60 S. Headed back in at 1520. Given the large sea and the fact 
that the sun set as we approached the coast we didn't visit Lawrence Rocks and 
instead picked a course through the breaking swell on the reefs between the 
rock and the coast before arriving in the harbour at 1720.

Conditions: A ~10 knot SW wind provided a small amount of spray on the way out. 
This wind moderated through the day such that it was quite pleasant beyond the 
shelf.  There was a 4-5 m swell inshore and a 3-4 m swell offshore.  On top 
this a 1 m sea moderated through the morning to be less than < 0.5 m by 10 am. 
Cloudy at first but then clearing to bright, well lit conditions, with 
occasional clouds. These conditions made for a reasonably pleasant day at sea, 
though three+ were seasick. Good diversity with 25 species of seabird recorded 
during the trip. Rarity-wise the highlight was a Blue Petrel, but sadly this 
bird was only seen fleetingly and at some distance. Other highlights were the 
good numbers of albatross including a Southern Royal and Salvin's form of Shy 
Albatross, three species of prion, large numbers of Cape Petrel and close 
approaches by Sooty Shearwater.


Common Dolphin: 2 in pelagic waters around midday and another 4 or so in 
inshore waters on our return in the pm. The animals in the pm leapt clear of 
the water on several occasions as they followed in the large swell.

Bottle-nosed Dolphin: 4 adults between the Lawrence Rocks and Portland Harbour 
in the pm.

Australian Fur Seal. 1 just outside the harbour entrance in the am, 1 in 
offshore waters in the am and 2 in pelagic waters with the trawler. These last 
animals put the attending birds into flight on a number of occasions.


Little Penguin: 8 together in inshore waters in the late pm.

Black-browed Albatross

melanophrys 200 (80). Mostly adults, though 2-3 immature birds seen. 34 in 
inshore waters, 25 in offshore waters, remainder pelagic. Largest aggregation 
was at the trawler haul point

impavida: 8 (5). All pelagic. All adult.

Shy Albatross cauta: 380 (300). 4 in inshore waters in the am, 20 in offshore 
waters in am, remainder pelagic. Largest aggregation was at the trawler haul 
point. Mostly adult with small numbers of immature birds and at least 1 
juvenile through the day.

SALVINI: 3. 2 different adults and an immature in pelagic waters. [first 3 images]

Yellow-nosed Albatross: 5 (2). 2 inshore, 1 offshore, 2 pelagic. One immature, 
remainder adult.

Wandering Albatross:7 (5). Mostly stage 3-4 birds that appeared to be gibsoni. 
1 older juvenile exulens given its large size.

SOUTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS: 1 younger adult that visited us at two of the three 
berley points and joined other birds at the back of the boat for photo 
opportunities. [first 3 images]

Northern Giant Petrel: 2 juveniles at the third berley point.

Southern Giant Petrel: 1 juvenile at the second berley point. It was presumably 
the same individual that followed us to the third berley point.

BLUE PETREL: 1. A distant bird over 80 fathoms of water on the way out. We 
stopped but it didn't show any interest.

Great-winged Petrel: 30 (12). All macroptera. 2 offshore, remainder pelagic.

Cape Petrel: 150 (60). 5 offshore, remainder pelagic. Nice photo opportunities 
given the close approaches and good light. [first 12 images]

Fairy Prion: 65 (15). 20 offshore, remainder pelagic.

SLENDER-BILLED PRION: 1 at the third berley stop.

ANTARCTIC PRION: 4 (2). 1 offshore, remainder pelagic.

Wilson's Storm-Petrel: 2 (1). Two sightings at the third berley point, may have 
been of the same individual.

Grey-backed Storm-Petrel: 50 (25). All pelagic.

Sooty Shearwater: 5 (2) All pelagic.

Fluttering Shearwater: 13 (12). All over inshore waters in the pm.

Australian Gannet: 40 (20). Mostly inshore, 4 offshore.

Black-faced Cormorant: 1 inshore in the am.

Southern Skua: 4 on the harbour seawall as we departed. This is the third or 
fourth winter in succession where Southern Skua have taken to resting on land 
in Portland Harbour.

Crested Tern: 12 (5). 1 offshore, remainder inshore.

Silver Gull: 10 inshore in the am and a similar number in the pm.

Kelp Gull: 1 in Portland Harbour in the am.

Pacific Gull: 2 in inshore waters in am.

Rohan Clarke
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