Southport Pelagic 4th November 2012

To: <>
Subject: Southport Pelagic 4th November 2012
From: "Paul Walbridge" <>
Date: Thu, 08 Nov 2012 08:43:07 +1000
Hi All, Sundays' trip report for Southport. Cheers - Paul W.

Location: Southport, Queensland
Date: 4/11/2012
 Vessel: 37 ft monohull MV Grinner
 Crew: Craig Newton (skipper)
 Pax: Paul Walbridge (leader & organiser), Brian Russell, Rob Morris,
Michael Wood, Stuart Pickering, Andrew Sutherland, Carl Billingham, Glen
Pacey, David Robertson, Andrew Walter, Rick Franks, Colin Lunt

Weather conditions:
A high over the Tasman extended a weakening ridge over the east coast
of Queensland. Light SE winds to 10 knots early on abating to < 5 knots
ESE by mid morning, picking up again slightly in the afternoon when
approaching the coast. Light, high cloud for most of the morning with
rain squalls confined to the coast and cloud largely lifting by mid
afternoon. Max. air temp. 28* C, barometer 1020 hPa.                    

Sea conditions:
Light seas on leaving the Seaway on a light swell, with the swell
rising to a maximum of 1.5 metres, with the falling breeze the sea
became quite glassy by mid-morning. Sea surface temps. 21.9* C at the
Seaway, rising to 22.8* C at the Shelf-break and a max. of 22.3 out wide
in Slope waters. Current running at just over 1 knot.

Left the Seaway at 0605 hrs and proceeded ENE to Jim*s Mountain, some
30 nautical miles from the Southport seaway. Crossed the Shelf-break at
0850 hrs, reaching our final drift point at 0940 hrs, with at least one
rerun back over the berley slick. Headed for home at 1240 hrs, arriving
back at the Southport Seaway at 1525 hrs * duration of trip, 9 hrs 20
On leaving the Seaway, we encountered 3 or 4 trawlers returning from a
nights work but they had already finished cleaning up and little bird
life around them, save for a couple of foraging Common Terns, Crested
Terns, a Silver Gull and Pied Cormorant. Little sighted crossing the
Shelf in the calm conditions with low numbers of Wedge-tailed
Shearwaters, one or two Short-tailed heading south and an Arctic Jaeger
and a couple of Pomarine Jaegers appearing. Just before the Shelf-break
a lone Sooty Tern approached the vessel, circling a couple of times; a
few more Wedge-tailed Shearwaters were also starting to appear, no doubt
attracted to the berley bag over the stern.
Within 5 minutes of reaching the drift point, at 0945 hrs the first
bird arrived, a Black Petrel, which showed well and fed on the slick for
a few minutes before flying lazily off to the south. With the now zephyr
of a wind, the scent of the slick was not travelling far and just a lone
Wedge-tailed Shearwater and a Crested Tern appeared before, at 1025 hrs
when the first 2 of many Wilson*s Storm-Petrels arrived. Shortly after
this another Black Petrel arrived from the north, this bird hanging
around the vessel and the slick for considerably longer than the first
bird. This species is becoming more frequent in SEQ waters, with 3 three
birds sighted this year alone.
With the increasingly calm conditions, little was turning up with
mainly Wilson*s Storm-Petrels and Wedge-led Shearwaters but at 1107
hrs a Long-tailed Jaeger appeared, albeit briefly and showing little
interest in the vessel. Shortly afterward a late, well worn Providence
Petrel appeared in the slick at the back of the vessel, the first of two
for the day. With one or two Pomarine Jaegers harassing birds in the
slick the main numbers were with Wilson*s Storm-Petrels and the only
new bird to appear before leaving was a Brown Booby, passing astern of
us at 1210 hrs.
On the way back over the Shelf not much sighted with just a few more
Wilson*s Storm-Petrels, Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, Short-tailed
Shearwaters and Pomarine Jaegers noted. Recent history in these waters
suggests that Black Petrels usually appear in the presence of
Flesh-footed Shearwaters, until today. So far this Spring there have
been no Flesh-footed Shearwater sightings in this region, a species that
has always in the past, reappeared in September.
Wilson*s Storm-Petrel * 48 (15)
Black Petrel * 2 (1)
Wedge-tailed Shearwater * 57 (20)
Short-tailed Shearwater * 6 (2)
Providence Petrel * 2 
Brown Booby * 1 
Pied Cormorant * 1 
Pomarine Jaeger * 7 (2)
Arctic Jaeger * 2 (1)
Long-tailed Jaeger * 1 
Sooty Tern * 2 (1)
Common Tern * 2 
Crested Tern * 5 (4)
Silver Gull * 7 (6)


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