thanks for the trip report - a truely fantastic trip for SEQ - it was nice to
be surrounded by Petrels and Albatrosses and to repeatedly!! hear the shout of
'Light-mantled Sooty....'. I have to say after the bird reported on the
Sunshine coast in early June and 2 or 3 birds found on Fraser Island last week,
I was almost expecting (and at least hoping) for one (but not 3!).
Just a couple of things to add - all of the 'Great-winged Petrels' - as far as
I saw and photographed were P. (m.) gouldi - Grey-faced Petrel. We still only
have the one record of P.m.macoptera - June 2011 on the NZSP trip.
It is also worth noting the longer term weather context of this trip. The
marine weather conditions leading up to the trip produced 'the Perfect Storm'
for us. A deep low pressure system formed from a trough to the NE of Fraser and
moved SE from Sunday 10th to Weddnesday 13th (then move E) with conditions
abating late in the week. This produced strong SE winds offshore blowing at
60kts+ across SEQs seamounts with Es coming all the way from NZ. Onshore winds
were also strong - a group (Paul, myself, Colin Ried, Stuart Pickering and Andy
Jenson) of us were on Point Lookout 9North Stradbroke Island) on Monday in
30-40kt SE backing S winds and we saw 2-4 Northern Giant Petrels, Fairy Prion,
Black-browed Albatross, 30-40 Grey-faced Petrels and 4+ Providence (with 9
species of tubenoses recorded during the day). The conditions would have pushed
a lot of birds up into Fraser Island's offshore waters. On Saturday, the winds
simply pushed everything back in our direction after 5 or 6
days of SSE-SSW winds.
Let's hope for another East coast low in July......
> Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2012 06:44:33 +1000
> CC: ; ; ;
> Subject: [Birding-Aus] Southport Pelagic June 16th
> 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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