Albany Pelagic Trip Report - 28 July 2012

To: Birding-Aus <>, "" <>
Subject: Albany Pelagic Trip Report - 28 July 2012
From: John Graff <>
Date: Tue, 31 Jul 2012 22:01:51 +0800

Hi everyone, See below for the trip report from the Albany Pelagic last 
Saturday. Birding-Aus doesn't accept photos, but the trip report can be viewed 
with photos at
 Cheers,John _________________________________ Participants: Alan Collins 
(Organiser), John Graff (Organiser), Prue Anderson, Ron Broomham, Martin Cake, 
Stewart Ford, Nigel Jackett, Liz King, Richard King, Dan Mantle, Robyn 
Pickering, Jon Pridham, Roy Teale, Nathan Waugh, Gavin White Conditions: 
Conditions on the day were relatively calm, with winds less than 10knts all 
day. Seas were forecast to be less than 1m and swell was forecast to be 1.5-2m. 
Overhead conditions were mostly overcast, with significant shower (occasionally 
heavy) activity offshore in the morning Report
Overall this was an average Albany trip, with 11 pelagic species recorded, and 
most of the expected species making an appearance. However, no Wandering 
Albatross were seen for the second Albany pelagic weekend running, and there 
were no unusual sightings. The highlight of the trip was a group of Orcas 
(Killer Whales), which showed quite well at our second stop – these represent 
the first record for WA pelagics. We departed Emu Point Boat Harbour a little 
after 0700 in clear conditions. As usual, it was quiet as we crossed King 
George Sound, though a number of Humpback Whales were seen, mostly in the 
distance. As we cleared the heads, the first Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross 
appeared. As we moved a little deeper, we added an adult Shy Albatross and the 
occasional Hutton's Shearwater, but overall diversity was low. The first few 
Great-winged Petrels also began to appear, before we stopped in 400m of 
water.After deploying the chum, more Great-winged Petrels appeared, and were 
rapidly joined by Cape and Soft-plumaged Petrels (photos indicate one was a 
pale intermediate morph), and not long afterwards, the first Black-browed 
Albatross arrived - an adult bird which settled in the slick away from the 
boat. After a while though, it came into the back of the boat to join the more 
numerous Indian Yellow-nosed Albatrosses – interestingly, all albatross we saw 
in the deeper water were adult birds, something of a surprise. A couple of Shy 
Albatross also made passes, and one settled at the back of the boat, and a 
Wilson's Storm-Petrel made a couple of passes and fed briefly in the slick. A 
pair of Hutton's Shearwater rounded out the seabird selection for the stop. 
After about 1.5hrs, we moved deeper, stopping in about 1000m of water and 
putting out more chum. Most of the species from the first stop were also 
present at this stop (with the notable exception of Soft-plumaged Petrel), but 
a single Flesh-footed Shearwater was also added to the list, and several people 
had brief views of the first Little Shearwaters of the trip. However, the 
highlight of the stop was a pod of Orcas, which stayed in the area long enough 
for most on board to get a decent look – even swimming under the boat at one 
point! The shape of the 'eye-patches' and location suggests these were most 
likely 'Type A' animals, which prey mainly on whales. After 1hr or so, the 
Killers had moved on, and we moved back into shallower water, making a final 
stop in about 250m of water, in an area of upwelling. Once again, the regular 
species appeared, but unfortunately we had no chum to use, and struggled to 
attract birds to the boat. However, a Northern Giant-Petrel made a pass, as did 
another Little Shearwater, before we had to head for home. We didn't add 
anything new on the return journey, though a few young Shy Albatross were seen, 
along with more Little and Hutton's Shearwaters. We stopped briefly for some 
closer Humpback Whales near the heads, and added a Brown Skua well inshore 
attending a small fishing boat close to the entrance to Oyster Harbour, before 
docking at around 1615. Thanks as always to all the participants, and to the 
skipper Tony and deckhand Fred (Spinners Charters), who were friendly and 
helpful as always. Species List [Total Count (Maximum no. seen at one time)]
Wilson's Storm-Petrel 1 (1)
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross 60+ (16)
Black-browed Albatross 3 (1)
Shy Albatross 10 (2)
Northern Giant-Petrel 1 (1)
Cape Petrel 4 (2)
Great-winged Petrel 50+ (17)
Soft-plumaged Petrel 6 (3) – 1 pale intermediate
Flesh-footed Shearwater 1 (1)
Hutton's Shearwater 10 (3)
Little Shearwater 8 (1)
Brown Skua 2 (1)
Australasian Gannet 35 (20) Humpback Whale 16 (5)
ORCA (KILLER WHALE) ['Type A'] 7+ (7)                                     

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