sunshine coast pelagic

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Subject: sunshine coast pelagic
From: "Greg Roberts" <>
Date: Sat, 5 Nov 2011 21:40:02 +1000
We had a great day out today on our second Sunshine Coast pelagic. See here
for some nice pictures from Paul Barden:


Starting Point: Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast

Date: 5/11/2011

Vessel: 10m catamaran, the Cat-A-Pult, skippered by Paddy Dimond

Other Participants: Paul Barden,  Rob Dougherty,  Emily Johnson,  Dave
Metcalf,  Colin Reid,  Greg Roberts (organiser),  Brian Russell,  Ged
Tranter,  Paul Walbridge,  Brian Willey.

We departed Mooloolaba Harbour at 0640 hours, with the air temperature a
balmy 19C and a brisk 14-knot ESE blowing with a moderate swell. The wind
speed remained constant throughout the day, with the direction trending
towards E in the afternoon. These were ideal conditions, fine and clear with
just the right wind speed - a little uncomfortable perhaps but a bit of chop
in the sea can do wonders for the birds, as it did today.

We reached the Mooloolaba Wide area at the edge of the continental shelf at
0910 hours, the trip taking a little longer than our July excursion due to
the stronger winds. A juvenile Australasian Gannet showed inshore but
nothing else of interest. That changed quickly once we reached the shelf at
355m, 36 nautical miles offshore (26.32.431; 153.46.040), with the first
Tahiti Petrel of the day showing well as Paddy began laying a berley trail
of shark liver.

We soon had a Mottled Petrel, and this turned out to the most common bird of
the day, with about 50 seen - an extraordinary number for this species in
Australia. Presumably the birds were en route from wintering grounds in the
North Pacific to their New Zealand breeding colonies. Wilson's Storm-Petrels
were also in good numbers, and a single Black-bellied Storm-Petrel passed
closely behind the boat. This bird showed a clear white belly and was
thought initially to be a White-bellied, but photographs betrayed a very
thin line of black.

At one point, as we had 10Mottled Petrels flying about, a single Pterodroma
turned up which we thought at first was a Gould's Petrel, but closer
inspection of photographs indicated some unusual plumage features, so other
possibilities including Collared are under consideration. The first of
several Pomarine Jaegers for the day appeared late in the morning along with
a single Red-footed Booby - always a difficult bird in southeast Queensland.
We drifted on the shelf for 4.5 hours before heading back at 13.40, arriving
at the harbour at 15.40.

Species Total - (Maximum at one time) 

Wilson's Storm-Petrel 30 (5)

Black-bellied Storm-Petrel 1 (1)

Wedge-tailed Shearwater 20 (3)

Short-tailed Shearwater 30 (6)

Flesh-footed Shearwater 8 (2)

Mottled Petrel 50 (12)

Red-footed Booby 1 (1)

Australasian Gannet 1 (1)

Pied Cormorant 3 (1)

Crested Tern 12 (2)

Silver Gull 6 (2)

Pomarine Jaeger 8 (3)

Mammals -

 Humpack Whale 4 (2), 

Pantropical Spotted Dolphin 12 (6)




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