BIRDLIFE AUSTRALIA PELAGIC TRIP OFF PORTLAND, VIC
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.
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.
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