Pelagic Trip Report Port Stephens 15th April 2011

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Pelagic Trip Report Port Stephens 15th April 2011
From: Mick Roderick <>
Date: Sat, 16 Apr 2011 20:49:55 -0700 (PDT)
Pelagic Trip Report Port Stephens 15th April 2011
Boat: M.V.Argonaut, skippered by Ray Horsefield
Rod Warnock, Michael Kearns, Greg Little, Gerard and Shirley-Ann Satherly, Mike 
Newman, Allan Richardson, Penny Drake-Brockman, Darryl Eggins, Brad Gabriel, 
Laurie Smith, Ann Lindsey, Steve Roderick and Mick Roderick (leader and 

Leaving the port we had a gentle sou-wester on our backs but this changed as 
soon as we cleared Boondelbah Island, with a stiff southerly getting up quite 
early and maintaining at about 20 knots for our time at the shelf. The sea had 
decent chop on it and a solid 1.5 to 2m swell made for a bumpy ride out and 

Given the recent bout of Great Shearwater records off Australia (including 
Sydney just 6 days earlier) this was an “anti-climatic” pelagic trip, 
given the very low diversity of birds at the shelf. But the clear highlight was 
a very late Black Petrel that stayed with the boat for about the last hour of 
the time at the shelf and for a brief part of the return leg. Having about 100 
Wilson’s Stormies around the boat was nice too.
DepartedNelson Bay Public Wharfat 0655, returning at 1650.
There was an obvious air of expectancy on board the boat, given the recent 
of Great Shearwater records and also the amazing supporting cast seen off 
just 6 days prior. Whilst the original plan had been to run a double-header on 
the weekend, a remarkable (and somewhat typical) spike in rough seas had been 
forecast for the weekend. A quick plan was made to take the boat out on the 
Friday and it did not take too long to fill the boat with eager punters.
Unlike the southerly winds, our excitement however slowly abated. After 
the usual Wedge-tailed and Fleshy-footed Shearwaters with us out to the shelf 
(32 55 10 / 152 34 14), we endured nearly 2 hours of only having these two 
species + Wilson’s Stormies around the boat, aside from the occasional fly-by 
from a Fluttering-type or a Gannet. It seemed possible that we would not even 
see a Pterodroma until a Great-winged Petrel flew in for a couple of laps of 
boat, with a second bird about 30 minutes later. Soon after the first 
Great-wing, a Shy Albatross flew past, giving some more excitement. But the 
highlight was certainly a Black Petrel that stayed loyal to the boat for the 
final hour, giving all on board great views and allowing excellent photo 
opportunities. Wilson’s Stormies were in great numbers, with around 100 birds 
around the boat at one point, 75+ alone in our slick.
We left 32 53 59 / 152 36 04 at about 1340, which was an extra 30 minutes than 
our normal departure time. The journey home produced a couple of Yellow-nosed 
and a single Black-browed Albatross plus an additional Shy.  
Mick Roderick
Species: Total (maximum number around the boat at one time)
Wilson’s Storm-petrel: 125 (100)
Shy Albatross: 2 (1)
Yellow-nosed Albatross: 2 (2)
Black-browed Albatross: 1
Fluttering Shearwater: 3 (1)
Hutton’s Shearwater: 1
Fluttering-type Shearwater: 5 (1)
Wedge-tailed Shearwater: 300 (200)
Flesh-footed Shearwater: 35 (20)
Short-tailed Shearwater: 3 (1)
Great-winged (Grey-faced) Petrel: 2 (1)
Australasian Gannet: 50 (10)
Crested Tern: 7 (4)
Pomarine Jaeger: 2 (1) 
Silver Gull: 8 (5)
White-bellied Sea-Eagle: 1 (about 2km south of Boondelbah)
Pan-tropical Spotted Dolphin: ?? (distant pod seen on way back to port)
Shark sp. (Whaler sp.): single, free-jumping at shelf.

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