BA pelagic trip off Portland, Vic Sunday 1 April

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Subject: BA pelagic trip off Portland, Vic Sunday 1 April
From: Rohan Clarke <>
Date: Tue, 03 Apr 2012 21:27:47 +1000
Sunday 1 April 2012

OBSERVERS: Paul Dodd, Ruth Woodrow, Patrick Scully, John Weigel, Mal Chicksen, Gavin Masters, Grant Penrhyn, Val La May, John McRae, Dave Torr, Iian Denham & Rohan Clarke (report compiler) [A special thanks to Chris Lester who organised the participants but was unable to attend].

WEATHER: High hazy cloud with patches of denser low cloud meant conditions were rather dull in the morning but this cleared to blue skies before lunch and the rest of the day was bright and well lit. Mild to warm at times. Winds were less than 5 knots and variable throughout the day so at times it ‘glassed out’.

SEA: A 3-4 m swell through much of the day making to 4-5 m in the PM. Fortunately there was very little chop (< 0.5 m) and we enjoyed a comfortable ride with no spray.
Three seasick.

ACTIVITY: Sailed at 0635. Headed directly to the shelf break a little to the east of ‘The Horseshoe’. Reasonable numbers of birds on the way out though there was a lull in activity in offshore waters. Crossed the shelf break (100 fathoms) at 0910 before making our first stop at 38º47.27’S 141º31.70’E over 210 fathoms of water were we berleyed with shark liver and pilchards. Two further stops were made at 38º47.98’S 141º28.01’E (250-300 fathoms) and 38º43.96’S 141º26.14’E (100-120 fathoms) before heading back in at 1355. We cruised the shores of Lawrence Rocks (LR) before docking at 1620.

MAMMALS: Australian Fur Seals ~10 at LR. Also 3 at sea in offshore waters in the PM.

Common Dolphin: Two groups of two. Both in the PM the first over 74 fathoms of water and the second just 500m south of LR.

BIRDS: 24 species (27 taxa) of seabird (plus 1 raptor) beyond the breakwater indicated average diversity. Highlights were the good numbers of albatross including several Buller’s Albatross in pelagic waters.

Wilson’s Storm-Petrel: 40 (15). 1 offshore in AM, remainder pelagic.

Grey-backed Storm-Petrel: 2 (1). Both at the first berley point.

White-faced Storm-Petrel: 9 (5). 1 offshore, remainder pelagic.

Wandering Albatross: 10 (at least 9 on plumage). At least 3 juveniles, 5 stage 3/4 and 1 stage 6. 1 juv and the stage 6 bird appeared to be exulens, others were gibsoni types.

Black-browed Albatross: nominate race 25 (10). 5 inshore, 2 offshore, remainder pelagic. 13 immature, 1 juvenile, remainder adult.
impavida 3 (2). All pelagic. All adult.

Shy Albatross: cauta 45 (18). 9 inshore, 3 offshore, remainder pelagic. 12 immature, 1 juvenile, remainder adult.

Yellow-nosed Albatross: 13 (5). 1 inshore, 1 offshore, remainder pelagic. 3 immature, remainder adult.

Buller’s Albatross: 3 (3). All pelagic. All adult.

Fairy Prion: 7 (4). All pelagic.

Short-tailed Shearwater: 35 (10). All inshore.

Sooty Shearwater: 6 (2). 1 offshore, remainder pelagic, including some extended views right by the boat.

Hutton’s Shearwater: 4 (4). All inshore in the PM.

Fluttering Shearwater: 30 (10). All inshore.

White-chinned Petrel: 2 (2 on plumage). Both pelagic. One of the two showed a very obvious white throat.

Great-winged Petrel: 15 (6). 10 gouldii, 5 nominate. All pelagic.

Little Penguin: 1 inshore in the AM
Australasian Gannet: 55 (20). 1 pelagic, 35 inshore, 29 offshore. Also 000’s at LR and lesser numbers on and over the mainland colony at Pt Danger. At sea, 1 immature (pelagic), remainder adult.

Black-faced Cormorant: 8 inshore in the AM, ~40 ashore on LR.

Arctic Jaeger: 1 dark bird adjacent to LR in the PM.

Crested Tern: 7 (2). 2 inshore, 1 offshore and 4 pelagic. 100 ashore on LR in the PM.

White-fronted Tern: 5 (2). All pelagic. All adult.

Pacific Gull: 3 inshore in the AM.

Kelp Gull: 4 inshore in the AM.

Silver Gull: 60 inshore in AM, 1 offshore in PM and 100 at LR.

Peregrine Falcon: one flying over the sea between Portland Harbour and LR in the AM

On LR White-faced Heron (1) rounded out the list.

Rohan Clarke

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