Portland pelagic 03 April 2011

Subject: Portland pelagic 03 April 2011
From: Peter Lansley <>
Date: Tue, 19 Apr 2011 09:39:22 +1000
BA Vic Group Pelagic off Portland, Victoria, Sunday 03 April 2011

Participants: Tim Bawden, Robert Cox, Paul Dodd, Ruth Woodrow, Robert Farnes, 
Brian Johnston, Mark Stanley, Mark Bezuijen, Mark Bennett, Teisha Sloane, Brett 
Macdonald & Peter Lansley (leader and report compiler).

Activity: Aboard the Southern Pride, skippered by Peter Geller, with Neville 
the deckhand. Left Portland harbour at 07:00 eastern standard time, passing 
around Lawrence Rocks, then tracking south-west to the shelf. At 08:50, stopped 
for about 15 minutes at our first exciting encounter with the Great Shearwater. 
Travelled at 9 knots reaching the shelf and first berley point at 10:25 at 
position 38° 41' 41” S, 141° 22' 44” E.

Berleyed and accumulated birds here until 12:15, drifting 2 NMi NE, before 
moving to our second and final berley session at 38° 45' 04” S, 141° 25' 41” E 
from where we drifted from 12:50 – 13:45. Then turned for home. Brief run past 
eastern side of Lawrence Rocks on way home observing the gannetry before 
returning to the harbour, docking at 16:30.

Conditions: Light and variable breeze and drizzle on departure, then a moderate 
SW wind (up to 15 knots) easing off after 11:00. Swell SW, 3 metres. Sea lumpy 
on the outward leg but flattening in the afternoon.

Generally overcast in the morning, clearing to mostly sunny at the shelf break 
and clouding over again approaching Portland in afternoon. Temperatures cool to 
mild, around 15°C (ranged from 12.2 – 16.8°C on the day at Portland: Bureau of 
Meteorology) on land.

Good diversity with 24 species of seabird recorded beyond the harbour 

Highlights were the Great Shearwaters, Gould's Petrels, Southern (Brown) Skua, 
Buller's and Wandering Albatrosses. An exceptional pelagic, coinciding with a 
trip off Port Macdonnell, SA, where up to 50 Great Shearwaters were observed.

Common Dolphin Dephinus delphis: 1 offshore briefly.

Blue Whale Balaenoptera musculus: blows of whales seen about 10 times and some 
brief views obtained of this species by some. All offshore between 5 and 10 NMi 
SW of Lawrence Rocks.

Australian Fur Seal Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus. One or two inshore; a few 
as usual around Lawrence Rocks.

Little Penguin Eudyptula minor: 4 inshore including one dead.

Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophris melanophris: 7 inshore, 2 
offshore, 10 (5) pelagic. Mostly adults; T.m.impavida: 3 adults pelagic.

Shy Albatross Thalassarche cauta cauta / T.c.steadi: 1 inshore, 6 offshore, 35 
(20) pelagic. Mostly adults.

Yellow-nosed Albatross Thalassarche chlororhynchos: 1 offshore, 5 (4) pelagic.

Buller's Albatross Thalassarche bulleri: 1 pelagic, 1 inshore at 2.8 NMi SW of 
Lawrence Rocks in late pm. Both adults.

Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans: 2 juveniles stage 1/2, pelagic stop 2.

Giant-Petrel Macronectes sp: 1 immature offshore. Did not approach closely 
enough for ID.

Great-winged Petrel Pterodroma macroptera macroptera: 10 (6). P.m.gouldii: 1 at 
stop 2. All pelagic.

GOULD'S PETREL Pterodroma leucoptera: 2 at pelagic stop 2. One with primary 
moult, other with no moult.

Wilson's Storm-Petrel Oceanites oceanicus: 1 offshore, 30 (10) pelagic.

Grey-backed Storm-Petrel Garrodia nereis: 15 (5) pelagic.

White-faced Storm-Petrel Pelagodroma marina: c. 100 offshore, 10 (3) pelagic.

Fairy Prion Pachyptila turtur: 2 offshore, 1 pelagic.

Short-tailed Shearwater Ardenna tenuirostris: 5 (2). Most offshore, 2(1) 

Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia: 12 (10) inshore in am. Most abundant 
shearwater (just) on the day.

GREAT SHEARWATER Ardenna gravis: 8(6). 1 offshore (38° 32' 17” S, 141° 33' 15” 
E or 9.5 NMi SW of Lawrence Rocks) in am, 3 together at pelagic stop 1; 5 in 
transit between stop 1 and stop 2; 6 together at pelagic stop 2; 1 offshore (at 
38° 29' 17” S, 141° 37' 21” E or 5 NMi SW of Lawrence Rocks) in pm. Six birds 
seen in pelagic waters were assumed to be same individuals following the boat, 
but there may have been more. Numerous photographs were obtained, some at very 
close range. Unprecedented occurrence with only seven previous Australian 
records. However, up to 50 seen on the same day off Port Macdonnell, SA.

Australasian Gannet Morus serrator: 5 inshore, 2000+ on and around Lawrence 
Rocks, pm. Mostly adult but quite a few young birds on and around Lawrence Rocks

Black-faced Cormorant Phalacrocorax fuscesens: 4 inshore in the am, 25 ashore 
at Lawrence Rocks in the pm.

Arctic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus: 2 offshore chasing Crested Terns.

Southern (Brown) Skua Stercorarius antarcticus: 1 in pm, 4 NMi SW of Lawrence 

Crested Tern Thalasseus bergii: 5 inshore, am.

Silver Gull Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae: 2 inshore in am, and c. 15 on 
Lawrence Rocks in pm.

Pacific Gull Larus pacificus: 2 adults Lawrence Rocks in pm.

Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus: 1 adult Lawrence Rocks in pm.


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