To: "" <>
From: B Whylie <>
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 2010 20:11:04 +1000

*Report prepared by: Lindsay Smith.

Departed: 07:15 returned at 16:00.
Sea conditions: S-SE 2.0 to 3.0m.
Swell: S to 2.0 to 3.0.

Weather: overcast in morning with scattered shows clearing later in the day.

Temperature range: 11 to18.0°C.

Barometric pressure: 1026 HPa steady though out the day.

Wind: South -- South-East at 18-20 Knots all day

Sea surface temperature: 22 degrees


A series of cold fronts had past through the southwest of NSW in the preceeding week creating moderate to strong southwest winds and rain. This was now was moving eastwards into the Tasman Sea under the influence of a high pressure system followed by a trough bringing with it a significant rain band. .

The cold, wet and windy conditions, with the sea current pushing south into the south-east swell made for an uncomfortable day at sea and prevented us from reaching the continental shelf break.

It is fair to say that we got "Flogged"! It was WET! It was COLD! It was ROUGH! It was a GREAT PELAGIC EXPERIENCE!

Birds however were in good numbers and the species diversity was very good, with many typical winter species being about. The change in seasons and species was well represented on this pelagic.

With good numbers of birds observed inshore. Albatrosses, in particular the smaller species were abundant.

An immature Grey-headed Albatross, blended in amongst the Black-browed and Campbell Albatrosses of various ages, juvenile to adults, gave observers, including several very experienced seabirders the opportunity to find out just how cryptic this species can be at this stage of plumage development. (A "White-headed", Grey-headed Albatross)

A Wandering Albatross (/D.exulans/) and a few juvenile Australasian Gannets past over our wake and were soon joined by a distant Buller's Albatross. A few Silver Gulls and Crested Terns were soon joined by a single Short-tailed Shearwater and a late Arctic Jaeger. As we cleared the Wollongong Reef a Brown Skua appeared amongst to following throng of birds as did a number of Yellow-nosed and Shy Albatrosses. Progressing south-east into the swell we added Fairy Prion, Wilson's Storm-Petrel and another two Buller's Albatrosses.

An Immature Wandering Albatross /D.exulans/ with a band fitted to its left leg was then observed feeding off the stern. A short stop to capture the Wandering Albatross to check its band No, proved very eventful. The bird had been banded by our French colleagues in the South Indian Ocean, most likely at Crozet or Kerguelen Isles. Whilst we were stopped a Northern Giant Petrel, Cape Petrel and a further seven Buller's Albatrosses coming to the boat as did a number of Fairy Prions. These offered the best views of the birds for the day.

After this short stop, just three miles short of the continental shelf break, we turned and headed back towards the harbour. Another brief stop, just out side the Trap reef to check on a number of Black-browed Albatrosses with bands on, proved worthwhile. Here an Arctic Tern was attracted by birds over the wake, putting in a brief appearance to inspect the slick behind the boat. A Southern Giant Petrel followed by two Brown Skuas and an assemblage of Campbell, Black browed, Buller's and Shy Albatrosses of several ages. These included a most beautiful and unusual individual Campbell Albatross, with a full pale grey head and neck (similar to a Grey-headed Albatross) a pale eye and bright orange, red-tipped bill.

As we head back from here we came in close to the Five Islands for protection from the swell. We also took this opportunity to check for Fur Seals hauled out on Martin Island. To no avail as no Seals were present. However here a small group of Australian Pelicans flew directly overhead fluttering their salmon pink bill pouches in courtship display. They flew to Big Is No 2 where the Pelicans had established two separate new breeding colonies.

As the mêlée of the Gulls Terns, descended on us it was pleasing to add Kelp Gull to our tally for the day.

(Note: numbers in parenthesis = highest count at any one time)

086 Wandering Albatross /D.exulans/ 3 (one with French band)

088 Black-browed Albatross /T.melanophris/ (several including adults & immature with bands)

859 Campbell Albatross /T.impavida/ 18 (7)

091 Shy Albatross/ T. cauta/ 10 (5)

090 Grey-headed Albatross /T.chrysostoma/ 1 imm. Possibly 2

089 Indic Yellow-nosed Albatross/ T. carteri/ 5 (3) (No immature Yellow-nosed Albatrosses were present)

931 Buller's Albatross /T.bulleri/ 8(7) (Highest number recorded off Wollongong)

929 Southern Giant-Petrel `/Macronectes giantus/ 1

937 Northern Giant-Petrel /Macronectes halli / 1 age 1+ <2 years Plumage

080 Cape Petrel /Daption sp/. 1

083 Fairy Prion /Pachyptila turtur/ 15+

063 Wilson's Storm-Petrel /Oceanites oceanicus/ 10+

071 Short-tailed Shearwater /Puffinus tenuirostris/ 1

104 Australasian Gannet /Morus.serrator / 15+ (5)
106 Australian Pelican /Pelicanus conspicillatus/ 6

128 Arctic Jaeger /Stercorarius parasiticus/ 1

952 Arctic Tern /Sterna paradisaea/ 1

115 Crested Tern /Sterna bergii/ 10+

981 Kelp Gull /Larus dominicanus/ 1

125 Silver Gull /Larus novaehollandiae/ numerous

*In the harbour*:

106 Australian Pelican/ Pelicanus conspicillatus/ 8 (5)
131 Sooty Oystercatcher 2 (2)
191 Great Egret



Hump-backed Whale

For previous trip reports and selected images from this trip visit

Future Trips

All Pelagic Trips from NSW are operated at no profit to the organizers, being operated as group boat charters for the benefit of all who wish to join us. If you would like to join one of these trips please contact us as detailed below:

To make a booking on the SOSSA Wollongong Pelagic Trips that departs on the 4th Saturday of each month contact:

SOSSA: Phone 02 4271 6004.


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