BirdLife Australia - Portland Pelagic Trip Report, 14 April 2013

Subject: BirdLife Australia - Portland Pelagic Trip Report, 14 April 2013
From: Chris Lester <>
Date: Sun, 28 Apr 2013 12:58:19 +1000

BirdLife Australia Pelagic off Portland, Victoria, Sunday 14 April 2013

Participants: Tim Bawden, Steve Clark, Paul Dodd, Christian Doerig, Guillaume Doerig, Dougald Frederick, Daphne Hands, Nigel Harland, Trevor Hunt, Brian Johnstone, Ruth Woodrow, Chris Lester (organiser).

Crew: Shannon and Neville.

Activity: Departed Portland harbour aboard the Southern Pride boat at 07.10 heading south-west to the shelf. Went straight out to the shelf. Our first stop was at 38°42.448'S, 141°22.363'E, 25 nm from Portland in 204 fathoms of water. Berleyed here from 9.45 till 10.30. We moved out a fair bit to 38°46.260'S, 141°18.741'E in 500 fathoms. We stayed there from 11.00 until 11.50. We moved east along the shelf and berleyed at 38°50.722'S, 141°21.891'E in 500 fathoms from 12.20 until 13.00. We moved east again and berleyed at 38°48.979'S, 141°24.031'E in 450 fathoms from 13.20 until 14.05. Headed back in passing Lawrence Rocks, where we had a good look, before returning and docking at 17.15.

Conditions: Initially, there was a light wind of fewer than 5 knots from the W, which was very surprising as a front had gone through on the Saturday night. There was no sea to speak of but a swell of 2-3 m. It was 100% overcast with some light showers. It stayed that way for pretty much the whole day with some occasional sunny breaks towards the end of the day and a reasonably warm temperature. The swell was about the same at the end of the day with no sea. The wind stayed very light.

Summary: Surprisingly low diversity with only 19 identified species of seabird recorded during the trip and with the numbers of most regular species were very low. There were almost no birds at two of our stops and very few at the other two. The highlights were latish Buller's Albatross and Flesh-footed Shearwaters.


Australian Fur Seal: the normal numbers loafing at Lawrence Rocks with a few on the way to and from the shelf.

Common Dolphins: small numbers on the way out and in.


Wilson's Storm-Petrel: 8 (3). Pelagic.

White-faced Storm-Petrel: 2 (1). Pelagic.

Black-browed Albatross: 30 (10). Mostly race melanophrys, but also several impavada. Mostly pelagic with a few inshore.

Shy Albatross: 10 (5). All race cauta. Mostly pelagic, but a few inshore.

Buller's Albatross: 1. Pelagic.

Yellow-nosed Albatross: 10 (3).  Pelagic.

Wandering Albatross: 1. Pelagic. Race gibsoni.

Fairy Prion: 50 (10). Pelagic and travelling in and out.

Short-tailed Shearwater: 50 (10). Mostly on the way out and in; a few pelagic.

Fluttering Shearwater: 5 (2). On the way out and in.

Flesh-footed Shearwater: 2 (1). Pelagic.

Great-winged Petrel: 30 (15). Both races. Pelagic.

Australasian Gannet: 1000+. Most were on or near Lawrence Rocks but about 10 offshore and pelagic.

Little Pied Cormorant: 5. Inshore and in Portland Harbour.

Black-faced Cormorant: 30+, mostly on or near Lawrence Rocks with 4 flying passed inshore.

Jaeger spp.: 3. Distant views on the way out and the way in but too far away to identify.

Crested Tern: 200 around Lawrence Rocks, 10 off-shore.

Pacific Gull: 4. In Portland Harbour.

Kelp Gull: 2 at Lawrence Rocks, 10 in or near Portland Harbour.

Silver Gull: 200 at Lawrence Rocks, 10 off-shore.

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


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