Hillarys Pelagic 1st April - trip report

To: Birds WA E-Mail List <>, Birding-Aus <>
Subject: Hillarys Pelagic 1st April - trip report
From: John Graff <>
Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2012 21:55:19 +0800

Hi all, See below for the trip report from the Hillarys Pelagic trip off Perth 
earlier this month. The report can also be seen at
 with photos and a map showing locations for most sightings (courtesy of Martin 
Cake). The map can also be accessed via Google at
 Cheers,John Hillarys Pelagic Trip Report - 1 April 2012 Participants  (21)
Alan Collins (organiser), Ben  Allen, Dimitris Bertzeletos, Steve Burns, Martin 
Cake, Cheryl Davis, John Graff,  Mike Green, Greg Howell, Liz King, Richard 
King, Louise Little, Wayne Merritt,  Clive Nealon, Jenny Preston, Jon Pridham, 
Mark Stanley, John Vogel, Nathan  Waugh, Bruce Wedderburn, Pete White

Departed  Hillarys Boat Harbour at 7.20am. Returned at 3.45pm.  The forecast 
was for a  partially cloudy day with showers and 10/15 knots W/SW winds 
increasing to 18/23  knots by early afternoon. Seas were 2m with a swell of 2m.

The  highlight of the trip was the large numbers of Streaked Shearwater seen. 
At  least 40 birds were seen very close to the northern shore of Rottnest 
Island;  this species has never been seen in the SW of Western Australia, 
before this  trip the furthest south they had been recorded at sea in WA was 
just north of  Geraldton. Other highlights included prolonged and close views 
of Wilson’s  Storm-Petrels and a couple of very obliging Hutton’s Shearwaters.

As the boat departed from  Hillarys, we headed WSW towards the trench NW of 
Rottnest Island. As we passed  Rottnest Island we started to see a number of 
large pale shearwaters, at least  two of which were clearly Streaked 
Shearwaters, so we stopped the boat to try to  get better views. Some chum and 
fish oil was thrown out the back of the boat and  although this did bring in a 
couple of Brown Skuas, it didn’t bring the  shearwaters any closer. 

As we headed into deeper  water, a couple of Hutton’s Shearwater were seen 
including one very obliging  bird which flew close alongside the boat for quite 
some time, giving everyone  the opportunity to get excellent views. The only 
Arctic Skua of the trip was  also seen as we headed SW toward the Rottnest 
trench. A Soft-plumaged Petrel was  also seen by one observer. 

We stopped at a depth of 350m  and almost as soon as the fish oil and chum were 
deployed Great-winged Petrels  and Flesh-footed Shearwater appeared around the 
boat, both giving very close  views. These birds were joined by Wilson’s 
Storm-petrels and again they could be  seen flying along the line of the oil. 
Normally this species doesn’t come very  close to the boat but at times the 
birds were only a couple of metres off the  stern. A couple of Hutton’s 
Shearwaters also passed in the distance, but with no  new species coming in, we 
decided to try closer to Rottnest.

We stopped NW of Rottnest, in  about 30m of water. Several Flesh-footed 
Shearwaters arrived, as did a couple of  Great-winged Petrels (a little 
surprising in such shallow water). These were  also joined by a couple of 
Bridled Terns, and an immaculately plumaged adult  Indian Yellow-nosed 
Albatross, which stayed around the boat for most of the  stop.

We then decided to head closer  to Rottnest, looking for more of the pale 
Shearwaters. We motored back, passing  just north of Rottnest and sure enough 
we quickly picked up more of the  shearwaters flying close in to the northern 
shore of the island. A reasonable number of pale  birds appeared to be hanging 
around a little closer to the island, so we moved  to that area and were 
rewarded when several of the birds passed close to the  boat. The views  this 
time were much better and all the pale shearwaters seen were Streaked  
Shearwaters. Subsequent checking of photos also indicates that all large pale  
shearwaters seen on the trip were Streaked.

We then began our journey back  to the Hillarys Boat Harbour adding a Brown 
Skua and a couple more Hutton’s  Shearwater on the way, and docked at 3:45pm.

Bird  List [Total Number (Maximum at Same Time)]
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross  1 (1)
Great-winged Petrel 15  (5)
Soft-plumaged Petrel 1 (1)
Streaked Shearwater 40+  (10)
Wedge-tailed Shearwater 10  (2)
Flesh-footed Shearwater 50+  (10)
Hutton’s  Shearwater 12 (3)
Wilson’s Storm-petrel 12 (7) 
Australasian Gannet  4  (1)
Brown Skua 4 (2)
Arctic Skua 1 (1)
Crested Tern 9 (4)
Bridled  Tern 5 (2)

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