Birdswing Birding & Wildlife Tours Pelagic trip off Port Fairy, Victoria
Saturday 13th April 2013
Observers: Neil Macumber (organiser and report writer), Brett Jarrett - Co
Leader, Samantha Greiner, Sue Mason, Neville Mason, Helen Dixon, Graham
Dixon, Irene McDonald, Charlotte Davis, Jane Hayes, Heather Saunders, Sonja
Ross, Mike Tesch, Leone Thiele and Brett Harman.
Conditions: On leaving the calmness of the Moyne River we headed out into
dull overcast conditions with a slight breeze and ½ to 1 metre swells. The
wind picked up and there was some heavy rain. The swell increased to around
2.5 metres, the weather deteriorated with quite rough and sloppy conditions
and consequently the skipper made the decision to turn around about 1
nautical mile from the shelf.
Overview: Left the Port Fairy wharf at 0715 EST along the Moyne River out
to sea heading at 215˚ and doing around 12 knots but as the weather
worsened the boat speed was dropped to about 6-8 knots.
An enthusiast group (with quite a number of first time sailors) left the
calm Moyne River and headed out into what became a fairly ordinary rough
and choppy Bass Strait. We saw some good birds in the river - 2 Rufous
Night Herons, Pacific Gull and a Caspian Tern.
Out of the river we were on to birds almost straight away, Australasian
Gannet and Crested Tern. By 7.30 we had seen our first Black-browed
Albatross soon followed by Short-tailed and Fluttering Shearwaters, a
couple of Little Penguins, more Crested Terns, Gannets and another Black-
At 8.00 we had nailed our first Shy Albatross and our forth small pod of
Common Dolphins. We were seeing new species as we continued out toward the
shelf, including - Arctic Jaeger, Sooty Shearwater, Yellow- nosed and
Bullers Albatross, Fairy Prion, Great-winged and White-chinned Petrels,
White-fronted and Crested Tern.
At 10.26 and only about 1 nautical mile from the shelf the skipper decided
we should turn for port due to the worsening weather conditions.
We stopped at 10.40 in 83 fathoms and had many birds coming in to feed on
the berley, with up 80 albatross, about a 50-50 split of Black-browed and
Shy, with a few Bullers, Yellow-nosed and Campbell Island. We had a lot of
other species including Crested and White-fronted Tern, Great-winged and
White-chinned Petrel, Fairy Prion, Gannets, Wilsons, White-faced and Grey-
backed Storm Petrel. There were wonderful photo opportunities and we headed
for home at 11.47
Many of these birds continued to follow the vessel back toward shore. On
entering the river we saw Pied Cormorant and Australasian Grebes.
We docked at 1525 after a rough but enjoyable trip.
Mammals seen were Common Dolphin, Australian Fur Seal and an unidentified
Everyone enjoyed themselves with most people adding pelagic species to
their life list.
Birds: 24 species off shore
Pelagic Species: - Little Penguin, Shy Albatross, Black-browed Albatross,
Campbell Island Albatross, Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross, Buller's
Albatross, Fairy Prion, Great-Winged Petrel, White-chinned Petrel, Sooty
Shearwater, Short-tailed Shearwater, Little Shearwater, Fluttering
Shearwater, Grey-Backed Storm-Petrel, White-Faced Storm-Petrel, Wilson's
Storm-Petrel, Australasian Gannet, Arctic Jaeger, Pacific Gull, Silver
Gull, Crested Tern and White-Fronted Tern.
Species see in shore: - Caspian Tern, Nankeen Night Heron, Australasian
Grebe, Pied Cormorant and Sacred Ibis
Mammals: Four sightings of Common Dolphins and a couple of Australian Fur
Proposed Dates for remainder of 2013 Trips: Sunday 12 May (full only taking
standbys), 30 June, 14 July, 11 August, 15 September, 27 October, 17
November and 1 December. Trips will go if there are enough numbers and the
weather is suitable. First in gets a spot allocated. See our website for
more details <http://www.birdingwildlifetours.com.au/>
Birdswing Birding & Wildlife Tours
POMONAL VIC 3381
PH. 03 5356 6274
Mob. 0413 628 306
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