Hillarys Pelagic Trip (off Perth) Report - 24 March 2013

To: Birds WA E-Mail List <>, Birding-Aus <>
Subject: Hillarys Pelagic Trip (off Perth) Report - 24 March 2013
From: John Graff <>
Date: Fri, 29 Mar 2013 12:10:51 +0800
G'day everyone, Here's a copy of the trip report from last Sunday's pelagic 
trip out of Hillarys (Perth). Overall a relatively quiet trip, with no repeat 
of the Streaked Shearwater action from this time last year. There was a 
reasonable variety of species for a Hillarys trip but nothing too unusual and 
many species didn't come in to the boat The text of the report is below, the 
text with accompanying photos can also be found at
 The next trip out of Hillarys is expected to be in August this year. There are 
two trips being run out of Albany on the 4th and 5th of May, still with spaces 
on both Cheers,John Participants: Alan Collins (Organiser), John Graff 
(Organiser), Sue Abbotts, Robin Ashford, Martin Cake, Cheryl Davis, Rose 
Ferrell, Stewart Ford, Michael Hancock, Mark Henryon, Nigel Jackett, Darryl 
Jones, Val La May, John McMullan, Rob Morris, Clive Nealon, Annette Park, Robyn 
Pickering, Louis Purdy, Peter Taylor, Margot Turnbull, Ray Turnbull, Peter 
White Conditions: Winds were forecast to be south-easterly at 12-15knts during 
the morning shifting to an 18knt southerly in the afternoon, with seas 2m and 
swell of 1.5-2m. Conditions on the day were roughly as forecast. Sea 
temperatures were in the range of 22-23 degrees ReportThis was the first 
pelagic off Hillarys run in March, and the earliest in the year a trip has been 
run off Hillarys so it was interesting to see what was about. There was no 
repeat of the high Streaked Shearwater numbers from last year’s April trip and 
these seem to have been a cyclone-related occurrence. Overall though it was a 
reasonable trip, with 7 true seabirds recorded, along with a variety of jaegers 
and terns. Unfortunately, no unusual species were seen and the majority of 
species did not spend much time (if any) close to the boat. We departed the 
harbour shortly after 0700 in clear conditions, and at least one person saw a 
Common Bottlenose Dolphin briefly in our wake. Bird activity was almost zero 
until half-way to the Rottnest line when we started picking up the first 
Wedge-tailed Shearwaters in the distance, along with one or two Australasian 
Gannet and some distant jaegers. The first real excitement came as a Pomarine 
Jaeger flew purposefully across the bow, and as we passed to the north of 
Rottnest the first Flesh-footed Shearwaters started to trail the boat. As we 
cleared the eastern edge of Rottnest, activity built and several new species 
were seen, including a brief but close view of a Wilson’s Storm-Petrel, 
reasonable views of an adult Shy Albatross, and the first distant Bridled 
Terns. At least one person also saw a distant Common Noddy and a couple of 
people picked up one or two White-faced Storm-Petrels and a couple of distant 
Hutton’s Shearwaters. We stopped at the 400m contour on the edge of the 
Rottnest Trench and started burleying. Flesh-footed Shearwaters were on the 
scene immediately, followed shortly by smaller numbers of Great-winged Petrels 
and later the odd Wilson’s Storm-Petrel. The most interest came when a Common 
Noddy crossed the bow (sadly it didn’t hang around), and an adult Shy Albatross 
(possibly the same bird seen previously) made a pass and flew some circuits off 
the starboard side.  After just over an hour, we repositioned to the 
south-east, but saw nothing different so we left the trench and positioned 
several kilometres north-west of Rottnest. Flesh-footed Shearwaters immediately 
settled around the boat, and the odd Wedge-tailed Shearwater could be seen in 
the distance. A few mid-distant Bridled Terns were seen, and a couple of 
observers saw two Common Noddies. A nice Pomarine Jaeger made a close pass at 
the stern but did not hang around. Two more stops off the east end of Rottnest 
yielded similar species, with a few close passes from Wedge-tailed Shearwaters 
and a few Arctic Jaegers. The main excitement was a large turtle considered to 
be a Loggerhead Turtle which swam close to the boat for a while. We eventually 
headed for Hillarys, picking up the last few shearwaters quite close to shore, 
and docked at approx. 1545. Many thanks to all the participants, and to the 
boat crew for their assistance. Species List [Total Count (Maximum no. seen at 
one time)] 
Shy Albatross 2 (1)
Great-winged Petrel 14 (5)
Wedge-tailed Shearwater 30 (6)
Flesh-footed Shearwater 200 (54)
Hutton's Shearwater 7 (2)
Wilson's Storm Petrel 10 (2)
White-faced Storm Petrel 2 (1)
Arctic Jaeger 6 (3)
Pomarine Jaeger 2 (1)
Jaeger sp. 3 (1)
Australasian Gannet 9 (3)
Crested Tern 7 (3)
Bridled Tern 25 (9)
Common Noddy 4 (2) Common Bottlenose Dolphin 1 (1)
Loggerhead Turtle 1 (1) 

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