Southport Pelagic 21st April 2012.

To: <>
Subject: Southport Pelagic 21st April 2012.
From: "Paul Walbridge" <>
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2012 07:09:20 +1000
Hi All, below is Saturdays' Southport Pelagic Report.

Location: Southport
Date: 21/4/2012
Vessel: 37 ft monohull MV Grinner
Crew: Craig Newton (skipper)

Pax: Paul Walbridge (leader & organiser), Glen Pacey, John Reynolds,
Rob Morris, Steve Murray, John Weigel, Jeanie Churchward, Ian
Churchward, Judy Gillette, June Buckenham, David Stewart, Michael
Mcnaghten, Andrew Wood.

Weather conditions: With a high near New Zealand and a trough lying off
the SEQ coast, light SW winds early in the morning moving to light 5-10
knot breezes for the rest of the day. Just some light cloud cover but
generally fine, visibility quite good but some haze on the horizon.
Barometer 1016 hPa, maximum air temp. 26* C.

Sea conditions: Light seas on a 3 metre swell from the seaway and
across the Shelf abating to about 1.5 metres in Slope waters by
mid-morning. Sea-surface temps. 23.7* C at the Seaway, rising to 24.8 *
C at the Shelf-break and up to 25.3* C out wide.

Left the Southport Seaway at 0640 hrs and headed ENE to the Riviera
grounds 26 nautical miles offshore. Crossed the Shelf-break at 0915 hrs
and reached the drift point at 0950 hrs where, unusually, the current
took us north. Continued the drift with just one run down the slick
until 1245 hrs the headed back across the Shelf, reaching the Seaway at
1525 hrs. Duration of trip 8 hrs 45 mins.
No trawler activity on leaving the seaway, with just a few terns and
Australasian Gannets present so we proceeded directly for the
Shelf-break. Little of note across the Shelf save for a solitary
Fluttering Shearwater and a single Short-tailed Shearwater heading
north. On placing a berley bag over the back of the boat several
Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and the odd Flesh-footed Shearwater followed
until we reached the Riviera grounds. On reaching the drift point we
were immediately joined by the first Providence Petrel for the day and
very shortly afterwards a White-face Storm-Petrel, which only stayed
briefly, before heading to the northeast.  Wilson*s Storm-Petrels were
now arriving in the slick and shortly after 1000 hrs the first Tahiti
Petrel for the day arrived, circling the vessel.
That was pretty much it for the next hour, with Wedge-tailed and
Flesh-footed Shearwaters, a few Providence Petrels and another
White-faced Storm-Petrel along with more Wilson*s Storm-Petrels. It
was the number of Tahiti Petrels arriving from the NE in a steady stream
that most surprised  though, as just a few days earlier further east on
the Sea Mounts only 3 birds had been sighted. The water temp. out there
was 23-24* C, approaching the tolerance level for this species, whereas
it was still nearly two degrees warmer just off the Shelf. At 1125 hrs a
larger darker bird arrived and promptly landed to feed, a Black Petrel,
the second April record for Southport. Several people obtained photos of
the Black Petrel feeding alongside Tahiti Petrels on the sea surface. 
The Tahiti Petrels were arriving in such numbers now that several small
flocks were forming and circling the vessel looking for the best patches
of berley. Just after midday a large shearwater joined the throng, a
magnificent Streaked Shearwater and it put on quite a show for some
period of time. A sub-adult Pomarine also keenly joined in, harassing
several birds and even took on a Tahiti Petrel which finally shook the
Jaeger off. I*ve never heard a Pomarine Jaeger call so loudly or so
prolonged before. Every bird present was clearly hungry and it would
appear there was little baitfish activity, or much other in the way of
food source. We headed back down the slick prior to leaving for home and
a darkish intermediate Kermadec Petrel appeared and stayed for just a
few minutes. Several birds followed on the way back, including two
Tahiti Petrels which followed the vessel for some 13 nautical miles. A
lone Long-tailed Jaeger at 1430 hrs was the only other bird of note on
the way back in with some foraging Common Terns near the Seaway.
Wilson*s Storm-Petrel * 30 (10)
White-faced Storm-Petrel * 4 (2)
Black Petrel * 1
Wedge-tailed Shearwater * 48 (12)
Flesh-footed Shearwater * 26 (6)
Short-tailed Shearwater * 2 (1)
Streaked Shearwater * 1 
Fluttering Shearwater * 1
Tahiti Petrel * 55 (12)
Kermadec Petrel * 1 
Providence Petrel * 24 (8)
Australasian Gannet * 3 
Little Black Cormorant * 1 
Pomarine Jaeger * 2 
Long-tailed Jaeger * 1 
Common Noddy * 1 
Common Tern * 31 (30)
Crested Tern * 15 (12)
Silver Gull * 21 (20)

The next pelagic is on 19th May with several positions still available.
Contact Paul Walbridge on (PH) (H) 07 3256 4124
(W) 3139 4584    E-Mail:  

Cheers - Paul W.

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