Southport Pelagic June 16th

To: <>
Subject: Southport Pelagic June 16th
From: "Paul Walbridge" <>
Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2012 06:44:33 +1000
Hi All, last Saturday the Southern Ocean paid southern Queensland a

Location: Southport, Queensland.
Date: 16/6/2012
Vessel: 37 ft monohull, MV Grinner.
Crew: Craig Newton (skipper)

Pax: Paul Walbridge, Rob Morris, Chris Wiley, Jon Norling, Michael
Mcnaghten, Brian Coates, Glen Pacey, Stuart Pickering, Tom Tarrant,
David Stewart, Angus McNab, Tod Burrows, Andy Jensen, Shealagh Walker.

Weather conditions: A weakening ridge of high pressure over eastern
Queensland brought light NE-NW winds to the SEQ coast. Light winds
early, < 10 knots from the north east, increasing to 10-15 knots NW by
early afternoon. Fine conditions generally, with only occasional light
cloud cover, visibility excellent. maximum air temp. 22* C, barometer
1022 hPa.

Sea conditions: Calm seas on up to 2 metre swell for most of the day,
with seas increasing to about a metre mid afternoon as the winds
increased to 15 knots from the NW. Sea surface temperatures 19.6* C at
the Seaway, rising to 22.1* C at the Shelf-break and ranging from 21.6 -
22* C in Slope waters.

Exited the Southport Seaway at 0700 hrs and headed out to Jim*s
Mountain, approx. 29 nm ENE of Southport. Crossed the shelf-break at
approx. 0920 hrs and reached the final drift at 0955 hrs, where we
drifted just 4.5 nautical miles over the next 4 hours. Headed back for
home at 1330 hrs, arriving back at the Southport Seaway at 1645 hrs,
duration of trip 9 hrs 45 mins.
On leaving the Seaway, there was very little trawler activity with just
a couple stationary trawlers a mile or so outside the Seaway producing
just a few Crested Terns and Silver Gulls but also a single Pied
Cormorant and Caspian Tern. For the next hour it was mainly Australasian
Gannets either foraging or sitting on the sea-surface until at 0755 hrs
a large dark bird appeared from the north, a juv. Northern Giant Petrel,
which didn*t stop and headed steadily south. An unusual sight at that
point was of a line of 20 Silver Gulls heading steadily out to sea in a
NE direction, maybe for some fishing activity out wider, not a species
we generally see well out to sea in this region.
The first pterodroma of the day in the shape of a Providence Petrel
appeared at 0807 hrs also heading south and still well on the Shelf
followed shortly by the only shearwater of the day a lone Fluttering
Shearwater. More Providence Petrels, all heading south were appearing in
front and astern of the vessel, normally by the 50 fathom mark we would
have a berley bag over the back of the vessel but it had been left on
shore, so we weren*t attracting birds astern. From there to the
Shelf-break more and more Providence Petrels began to appear along with
the occasional Australasian Gannet and while the Gannets appeared to be
just foraging the Providence Petrels were all heading in a southerly
direction. I might add that the Gannets were also being sighted a bit
wider than usual, including beyond the Shelf-break and little bait
activity was showing on the sounder. 
Approaching Jim*s Mountain the numbers of pterodromas began to
increase with the first Great-winged Petrel making an appearance. On
arrival Jim*s and stopping the vessel, the first Fairy Prion appeared,
always a harbinger of winter in SEQ waters, followed by more
Great-winged and Providence Petrels. At 1025 hrs, the first albatross
arrived, a young, probably 2nd year Gibson*s Albatross, along with
more Great-winged Petrels and the first Wilson*s Storm-Petrel and not
long after a foraging Common Noddy. At 1055 hrs another couple Fairy
Prions joined the throng with the first couple of Cape Petrels and
shortly after the first Black-browed Albatross for the day arrived the
rear of the vessel..
Over the next hour and a half the numbers of Great-winged and
Providence Petrels ebbed and flowed, with the numbers of Cape Petrels
building up to four and Black-browed Albatross up to six at a time. At
1245 hrs one after another 3 more large albatrosses appeared with two
Gibson*s Albatrosses of varying ages and a young male Antipodean
Albatross. We had already stayed out longer than normal but couldn*t
leave with more birds arriving, when at 1300 hrs a rarity for SEQ waters
a White-headed Petrel arrived and really performed for several minutes
around the vessel, when shortly afterward the bird of the day arrived. A
near adult Light-mantled Sooty Albatross came in from the north and
fronted up to the vessel performing several close circles around the
vessel, the cameras were going off like gatlings. Around this time a
rather larger and more mature *great* albatross came in, an
*exulans* Wanderer.
Just as we were about to leave at 1330 hrs a worn immature
Light-mantled Sooty Albatross appeared and gave enough reasonable views
to snap off a few shots, along with a juvenile Gibson*s Albatross. As
we started to pull away yet another immature Light-mantled Sooty
appeared but in much better plumage, about 5 minutes after the other one
had departed south. On the way back over the shelf a few Australasian
Gannets were noted, with the last Pterodroma, a Providence Petrel
sighted at 1500 hrs, halfway back across the Shelf. The Light-mantled
Sooty Albatross is the 81st species of seabird recorded from Southport.
Wilson*s Storm-Petrel * 5 (1)
Wandering Albatross * 1 
Gibson*s Albatross * 4 (3)
Antipodean Albatross * 1 
Black-browed Albatross * 11 (6)
Light-mantled Sooty Albatross * 3 (1)
Northern Giant-Petrel * 1 
Cape Petrel* 8 (4)
Fairy Prion * 6 (2)
Fluttering Shearwater * 1
White-headed Petrel * 1  
Great-winged Petrel * 112 (30)
Providence Petrel * 68 (10)
Australasian Gannet * 35 (4)
Pied Cormorant * 1 
Common Noddy * 3 (2)
Caspian Tern * 1 
Crested Tern * 19 (15)
Silver Gull * 60 (40)

The next trip on July 21st is fully booked at the moment but there are
some vacancies for August 18th. Contact Paul Walbridge on PH (W) 07 3139
4584 (H) 07 3256 4124 E-mail:   
Cheers Paul W. 

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