Birds Australia - Victoria Group (now BirdLife Australia) Portland Pelag

Subject: Birds Australia - Victoria Group (now BirdLife Australia) Portland Pelagic Trip Report, 2 October 2011
From: Chris Lester <>
Date: Sun, 24 Jun 2012 17:46:35 +1000
Dear Birding-Ausers,

Paul recently provided this report, so here it is ........


Chris Lester
Melbourne, Australia

For details of future Portland trips, go to the BirdLife Australia web site at the bottom of the page on For reports of past BA-Vic and BirdLife Australia trips from Portland and Port Fairy, search the Birding-Aus archives for the trip reports at

BA-Vic Group (now BirdLife Australia) Pelagic Trip off Portland Victoria, Sunday 2nd October 2011

OBSERVERS: Paul Dodd (organiser/report compiler), Brian Johnston, Ken Baker, Tracey-Ann Hooley, Mike Honeyman, Andy Jensen, Gina Hopkins, Peter Shute, Sonja Ross, Geoff Ross.

WEATHER: Moderately calm. Wind 10-15 knots SSE all day. Good visibility except on the way out when spray made viewing difficult at times. Mild.

SEA: A 1.5-2 m south-westerly swell. Surprisingly, given the combination of wind and swell producing somewhat unpredictable motion, no-one was seasick -- although, in the words of one participant, there were several people with "serious looks on their faces"!

ACTIVITY: Sailed at 0710 EDST. Headed directly to the shelf break but it was a slow trip once past Lawrence Rocks as we were contending with a headwind. Good numbers of Shy Albatrosses offshore and out to the shelf. Good numbers of Short-tailed Shearwaters, with one Flesh-footed Shearwater making a fly-past on the way out to the shelf. Small numbers of birds at first two berley points -- from the second point we saw a trawler in the distance, so headed over to it to "steal" its birds. In the area of the trawler, we saw a very dark-headed Shy-type albatross, and with the recent sightings of Chatham Island Albatrosses (eremita) off Tasmania, we attempted to get some photographs. We obtained some three photos, but ultimately lost the bird in the flock of several hundred Shy Albatrosses. Later assessment of the photos suggested a Salvin's Albatross (salvini) rather than Chatham Island (eremita).


Australian Fur Seals: 8 at Lawrence Rocks.


Yellow-nosed Albatross: 1 at trawler.

Shy Albatross: 200+ (100). All cauta/steadi except for one dark-headed individual, assessed as salvini.

Black-browed Albatross: 4 (4). Nominate ssp. All at trawler.

Royal Albatross: 6 (4). 5 Southern and 1 Northern, all pelagic.

Wandering Albatross: 1 gibsoni-type at the second berley point.

Northern Giant-Petrel: 2 at trawler.

Cape Petrel: 8 (4). At both berley points and at trawler (presumably some of the same birds).

Great-winged Petrel: 5 (3). At both berley points.

Fairy Prion: 100 (60). Most in offshore waters in the afternoon. Some (around 20) and beyond the shelf.

Flesh-footed Shearwater: 1 fly-past near the shelf.

Short-tailed Shearwater: 50 (10). Flying across boat's path on the way out and back in.

Fluttering Shearwater: 10 (10) flying past on the way out to the shelf.

Grey-backed Storm-Petrel: 10 (5). All pelagic.

White-faced Storm-Petrel: 4 (3). All pelagic.

Australasian Gannet: 20 (10). 10 inshore, 10 offshore. All adult. + 1000s on Lawrence Rocks.

Black-faced Cormorant: 5 (10). 5 at Lawrence Rocks, 5 in the harbour in the morning.

Little Pied Cormorant: 3 in the harbour in the morning.

Silver Gull: 20 (15). 15 in harbour, 5 inshore and near Lawrence Rocks.

Pacific Gull: 4 (4). All in harbour in the morning.

Kelp Gull: 5 (4). 4 on Lawrence Rocks, 1 in harbour in the morning.

White-fronted Tern: 2 roosting in the harbour in the afternoon.

Crested Tern: 5 (2) near Lawrence Rocks, plus 100+ roosting in the harbour in the afternoon.

Galah: 2 flying over the harbour in the afternoon.

Little Raven: 2 flying over the harbour in the morning.

Welcome Swallow: 3 hawking over the harbour in the afternoon.


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