BirdLife Australia pelagic trip off Eaglehawk Neck, Tas 15 Sept 2013

Subject: BirdLife Australia pelagic trip off Eaglehawk Neck, Tas 15 Sept 2013
From: Rohan Clarke <>
Date: Tue, 17 Sep 2013 09:35:47 +1100
Hi All,
Here?s the report for the Sunday trip ? A top day!
Rohan Clarke

Sunday 15th September 2013

OBSERVERS: Tim Bawden, Steve Edwards, Dougald Frederick, Brian Johnstone, Chris Lester, Rosemary Lester, John Lillywhite, Marlene Lyle, Glen Pacey, Jenny Spry, Andrew Walter, John Weigel, & Rohan Clarke (organiser and report compiler).

WEATHER: 20% cloud cover in the AM, increasing to 50% at 11:00 before mostly clearing again. Cool but not cold. A 10 knot northerly as we headed out built to 15-20 knots by 1300.

SEA: A 0.5 m sea on a 1 -1.5 m swell as we headed out. This built to a 1.5 - 2 m swell with a 1 m sea beyond the shelf. A very comfortable ride in the morning, but some heavy spray and the occasional curtain of water off the canopy on the return leg. No one noticeably seasick.

ACTIVITY: Departed Pirates Bay Wharf at 0705. Headed to the shelf break via the Hippolytes. The first White-headed Petrel was sighted over 70 fathoms. Crossed the shelf (100 fathoms) at 0845 before making our first stop at 43º12.83?S 148º11.22?E over 130 fathoms of water. With berley the number of birds gradually increased. As with the previous day we then moved further out to much deeper water. This second stop was made at 43º18.44?S 148º16.41?E over 500-700 fathoms. It was so good here that rather than shift back to the shelf we stayed here until 1305 when it was tim to head back in. Docked at ~15:10.

MAMMALS: Australian Fur Seals: 8 on the Hippolytes.
NZ Fur Seal: 1 on the Hippolytes.
Common Dolphin: 5 inshore in the AM

BIRDS: 35 seabird species beyond the point at Pirates Bay is exceptional for a Tasmanian pelagic. Highlights were 11 species of Albatross (IOC) including repeat views of Sooty, Light-mantled Sooty and Grey-headed Albatross and large numbers of petrels including White-headed, Grey and Blue Petrels. As with the previous day almost all of the petrels passed the vessel on the southerly course making repeat counting unlikely. When the wind picked up around midday birds attending the berley increased noticeably and it was then that most of the sought after species made repeat passes.

SOUTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS: 3 (2) At least 3 different individuals on plumage. All pelagic.

NORTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS: 2 (1). Different individuals on plumage. Both adult, both pelagic.

WANDERING ALBATROSS: 9 (5). At least 9 different individuals ? all huge with rather clean white plumage. At least 5 additional birds including 1 juv that were either Wandering or Antipodean Albatross.

Antipodean Albatross: 20 (6). Estimated at least 20 different individuals on plumage. 3 offshore in the AM, remainder pelagic but 2 followed us back into offshore waters.

Black-browed Albatross: 8 (3). 1 juv, 1 imm, 6 adults. All pelagic.

Campbell Albatross: 5 (2). 2 imm, 3 adult. All pelagic.

Shy Albatross: 110 (30). 7 inshore, 6 offshore, remainder pelagic. All adult. The dominant albatross of the day. All cauta-like.

Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross: 1 adult in offshore waters in the PM.

GREY-HEADED ALBATROSS: 4 (1). 4 different birds on plumage. 2 juveniles, 2 immature. All pelagic.

LIGHT-MANTLED SOOTY ALBATROSS: 4 (1). 4 different birds on plumage. 1 immature, 3 adults. All pelagic. Some pics here (first 5 pics)

SOOTY ALBATROSS: 4 (1). 4 different birds on plumage. 1 immature, 3 adults. All pelagic (as for the LMSAs). Some pics here (first pic)

Grey-backed Storm-Petrel: 3 (2). All pelagic.

Fairy Prion: 140 (20). All pelagic.

ANTARCTIC PRION: 3 (1) All pelagic.

SALVINS PRION: 1. Pelagic.


Short-tailed Shearwater: 480 (350). 7 inshore in the AM, 6 pelagic remainder offshore in the PM

Sooty Shearwater: 4 (1). 1 offshore, 3 pelagic.

Northern Giant Petrel: 15 (7). 2 juv inshore; 1 juv, 3 imm offshore; 2 juv, 7 imm pelagic.

Southern Giant Petrel: 3 (2). 1 juv, 1 imm, 1 adult. All pelagic.

Common Diving Petrel: 30 (5). 3 offshore, 11 pelagic, remainder inshore.

Great-winged Petrel: 150 (15). 2 nominate macroptera remainder NZ gouldi. 45 in offshore waters in the PM, remainder pelagic (inc the 2 macroptera).

WHITE-HEADED PETREL: 230 (15). 20 offshore in the AM (starting at 70 fathoms), another 30 offshore in the PM including 2 level with the Hippolytes (about 50 fathoms), remainder pelagic - a exceptional count for a one-day pelagic, easily eclipsing the previous day?s high count!

SOFT-PLUMAGED PETREL: 3 (1). 1 offshore in the AM, 1 pelagic and the last offshore in the PM. Only the last of these birds was close enough to provide good views.

BLUE PETREL: 38 (15). Mostly pelagic at the second berely stop but 2 offshore in the PM. Some pics here (first 6 pics)

GREY PETREL: 10 (3). 2 offshore in the AM, 1 offshore in the PM, remainder pelagic. A few good photo opportunities. Some pics here (first 5 pics)

White-chinned Petrel: 5 (1). All pelagic.

Cape Petrel: 15 (10). All pelagic though 4 followed us back into offshore waters. 1 ssp australe, remainder nominate ssp. Even with 10 together at once, 15 may be a slight over count as there seemed to be very little turnover in individuals.

Australasian Gannet: 10 (3). 7 inshore, 3 offshore plus 12 sitting on the Hipploytes

Black-faced Cormorant: 3 (3) All inshore. Also 56 perched on the Hippolytes.

Crested Tern: 15 (5). 1 inshore, 4 offshore, remainder pelagic.

White-fronted Tern: 2 (1). One immature pelagic, 1 distant in offshore waters.

Pacific Gull: 3 (3). All inshore. All adults.

Kelp Gull: 42 (20). All inshore in the AM except for 1 offshore in the PM. About 50 on the Hippolytes. All adult.

Silver Gull: 16 (10). 14 inshore, 2 offshore.

A single Peregrine Falcon and 2 Forest Raven at the Hippolytes rounded out the list.

Rohan Clarke


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