Sydney Pelagic Trip Report - Saturday 14 May 2011

To: Birding Aus <>, indo-pacific Seabirds <>
Subject: Sydney Pelagic Trip Report - Saturday 14 May 2011
From: David James <>
Date: Sat, 14 May 2011 21:01:32 -0700 (PDT)
Sydney Pelagic Trip Report - Saturday 14 May 2011
In the tail of the cold southerly fronts across south-eastern Australia over 
the preceding week, we were hoping to see good numbers of southern cold water 
species. Winds were 25-35 knots SW; swell 2-3 m S; seas 2-4 m, SW. The choppy 
conditions of late had likely mixed the surface waters and dropped the sea 
surface temperature well below 20 deg C. The Halicat handled the conditions 
very well and provided a remarkably stable and almost dry platform. 
The first Australasian Gannet and Black-browed Albatross of the day were 
encountered just inside Sydney Heads. Outside, the heavy conditions forced us 
to proceed at a moderate pace. Hal did an outstanding job with the berley in 
Roger’s absence and growing numbers of albatrosses and a few prions were soon 
following us. We dragged these out with us and numbers rapidly swelled to about 
80 albatrosses by the time we reached the shelf break. Among them was an adult 
Buller’s Albatross that followed for half the day. Two Southern Giant Petrels 
in fresh juvenile plumage and an adult Brown Skua followed for much of the day, 
but the single adult Northern Giant Petrel lost interest quickly. Prions were 
around all day, but the big waves and rocking boat (one hand for the bins, one 
for the boat) meant that they were hard to see well. The Great-winged Petrels 
and shearwaters did not appear until we reached the shelf-break, although the 
sooties and short-taileds
 followed us back in a fair way. Two adult Wandering Albatrosses joined us on 
the way back. When we slowed about 5 km off the Heads for some Common Dolphins 
we found two more adult Buller’s Albatrosses sitting on the water with some 
gannets. All of the Buller’s were fairly pale-headed and white-capped, 
indicating the nominate subspecies, if indeed there is any real difference. The 
biggest surprises may have been the conspicuous absence of Providence Petrel 
and smaller forms of Wandering Albatross. 
Wandering Albatross (exulans)                2
Black-browed Albatross (melanophris)   40
Black-browed Albatross (impavida)        20
Buller’s Albatross                                    3 (2)
Shy Albatross (cauta)                              10
Yellow-nosed Albatross (bassi)               25
Southern Giant Petrel                               2
Northern Giant Petrel                               1
Fairy Prion                                               10
Prion sp.                                                   20
Great-winged Petrel (macroptera)           5 (3)
Sooty Shearwater                                     3 (2)
Wedge-tailed Shearwater                        1
Shearwater sp. (fluttering type)               2 (1)
Wilson’s Storm-Petrel                             3 (2)
Australasian Gannet                                50 (20)
Brown Skua                                             1
Silver Gull                                               1 offshore
Crested Tern                                            20 (10)
Short-beaked Common Dolphin             10+
Inshore Bottlenose Dolphin                    2 in Rose Bay
The next Sydney pelagic trip will be on Saturday 11 June 2011 departing Mosman 
Ferry Wharf at 6.45am and Rose Bay Ferry Wharf at 7.00am. 
To book call Hal at 0411 311 236 or visit
Happy seabirding
David James, 


To unsubscribe from this mailing list,
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)
<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • Sydney Pelagic Trip Report - Saturday 14 May 2011, David James <=

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU