Stilt Sandper Update

To: Ian May <>, "" <>
Subject: Stilt Sandper Update
From: Tim Dolby <>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 2010 00:36:31 +0000
Hi all,

The Stilt Sandpiper was seen this morning by Warren Palmer on Pond 7 at the 
T-Section Lagoons (Western Treatment Plant, Vic) between 7 and 10 am. See

Aside from that, anyone got any recommendation on where to stay in Kangaroo Is, 
South Australia, for a family / birding trip.


Tim Dolby

From:   on 
behalf of Ian May 
Sent: Monday, December 27, 2010 9:20 AM
Subject: Christmas Day birding

g'Day all

We pulled anchor at 0300, Christmas morning for the apprehensive south run 
across the
often rough stretch of water known as Banks Strait.  This was the best time of 
day to try
and beat the relentless winds of the past week or two on our quest searching 
the southern
Furneaux Group for breeding White-fronted Terns.

The wind was calm as we departed Cape Barren Island and soon we were passing 
through the
narrows between Forsyth and Passage Islands with a 3 knot current on our stern. 
It was
dark and misty entering Banks Strait at about 0430 for the two hour steam 
across to Cape
Naturaliste.  As we passed east of Swan Island the sea was glassy but unsettled 
as first
light appeared and it was a little startling to observe sea whirlpools 
everywhere caused
by the strong spring tidal currents racing through the strait but these eddies 
had little
effect on S.V. Vulcan as she sailed south through them at about 9 knots

As daylight emerged a fresh NW wind sprang from the western mist and it was 
apparent we
were amongst clouds of Short-tailed Shearwaters, a myriad of them spiraling 
swooping and soaring around the boat, all of them flying east and as far as we 
see to the
north and south of us. In any direction there were thousands of them and this 
is how it
remained for the next hour until we approached black reef when suddenly the 
activity was
north and behind us as we approached the Tasmanian coast.  By now the sun had 
risen and
with it a NW wind which had now settled to a pleasant 20 knots off the 
starboard quarter.

Suddenly from just under the bow, we flushed a raft of Diving Petrel (30+), 
they scattered
to the east towards the rising sun. I looked around for more as I grabbed my 
stowed camera
but after 5 minutes no more were seen so I stowed the camera again. But it 
wasn't long
after and we flushed another flock of 50+ diving petrels so, quickly grabbing 
the camera
and just as Murphy decreed, I was now looking at a screen message saying 
battery.  Then another flock of Diving Petrels and then another. It is more 
usual for
Diving petrels to occur in smaller scattered groups and this is the first time 
I have seen
larger compact flocks of them. Large breeding colonies are not far from here.

Anyway we were approaching the hazardous seas between Cape Naturaliste and 
Eddystone Point
so it was probably best not to allow too many distractions. As we passed George 
there were two larger colonies of Crested Terns most still sitting.

At 11 00 we entered the St Helens Barway near high tide and were tied up at the 
wharf by
midday, then a crash out sleep waking in time for Pat to prepare a magnificent 
later xmas
dinner sharing some of what could have been some of Tony Russell's turkey.

Merry Christmas and happy new year to you all.

Pat and Ian May

St Helens Tasmania


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