Eden NSW pelagics 21st & 22nd September report

To: "" <>
Subject: Eden NSW pelagics 21st & 22nd September report
From: Tobias Hayashi <>
Date: Thu, 26 Sep 2013 10:44:39 +1000

Hey all, below is the trip report I wrote for the Canberra Ornithologists Group 
pelagics off Eden, NSW this past weekend. A rather long and rambling account :) 
I have a photo of the Grey-backed SP on my flickr page 
( It really was a very obliging bird and 
definitely one of the highlights. Possibly the most interesting, though, was 
the lack of albatross diversity (well, Procellariformes in general). 


COG Eden pelagics 21st and 22nd
September 2013



Friday evening saw a bunch of keen birders
descend on the Eden Fishermens Club and to have dinner and catch up ahead of
the now-annual COG pelagic trips out of Eden. However, our boutique beer
selection had the bar staff completely bamboozled. Judging by their blank looks
when I asked for James Squires, I suspect that anything beyond VB and Toohey’s
is very rarely ordered. 

After a good night’s sleep, we congregated
at the wharf at 7am, by which time the sun was already well up. There was bad
news, however: 20-30kt sou’westerlies and 3m swells meant an uncomfortable
ride. More importantly, it meant we couldn’t get out to the edge of the
continental shelf, which is generally the best place for seabirds. 

Heading out of the Twofold Bay, we were
immediately beset upon by Common Diving-Petrels. Throughout the day, I estimate
we would have seen 60+ which is a very good number, although mostly they stayed
well clear of the boat. We motored due south, following the coastline down past
Green Cape, finding Humpback Whales and Common Dolphins on the way. There were
lots of birds flying around, but mostly only Shy Albatross and long lines of
Short-tailed Shearwaters going south to breed. The odd Fairy Prion cruised past
and a lone Great-winged Petrel was the only Pterodroma for the weekend. On our
way back, a little north-east of Green Cape, we stopped the boat and started a
burley trail and soon the bird started coming in to feed on the shark and ray
liver.  We had good numbers of Shy
Albatross squabbling for food, and the Fairy Prions were putting in a good show
for all the photographers on board. It wasn’t long before I spotted a
White-faced Storm-Petrel dancing around on the oil slick but sadly it managed
to evade some punters. Not to be outdone, a Grey-backed Storm-Petrel raced in
and hung around the back of the boat, making numerous close passes and
satisfying the twitching instincts of most of the boat who hadn’t seen one
before. This species is rare in NSW and I will be submitting a rarities
submission to NSWORAC. 

Amazingly, we only saw one more species of
albatross, a single Black-browed Albatross. On the way back in to port, we
stopped to view the Black-faced Cormorants loafing in the bay. 



By Sunday morning, the winds and sea were
calm with gentle northerly breezes, so we motored straight out to the shelf
edge. The day went much the same as Saturday, with a very poor diversity of
seabirds, especially albatross and petrels, but good numbers of Fairy Prion and
Common Diving-Petrel. We missed the White-faced Storm-Petrels at the burley
point, but got a Wilson’s Storm-Petrel instead. The Grey-backed Storm-Petrel
put in appearance again, but this time didn’t come as close. For many, the
highlight was probably the very close encounters with Humpback Whales, some
surfacing right next to the boat. The skipper and I were fortunate enough to
spot some rarer whales, possibly the elusive Pygmy Killer Whale which would be 
very southerly for this species (awaiting photo verification). Once again, we 
saw only a single
Black-browed Albatross, although we did manage to get views of a Northern
Giant-Petrel on the way home. 

For the whole weekend, I was amazed by the
lack of diversity of seabirds. No Wandering Albatross, no Yellow-nosed
Albatross, no Buller's Albatross, no Providence Petrel, no Cape Petrel, no
Brown Skua, all birds I would expect to see at this time of the year.
Interestingly, pelagics a week earlier off Tasmania had been some of the best
in decades in terms of diversity and rare species. The ocean never fails to





Shy Albatross (in the order of a hundred
both days)

Black-browed Albatross (1 both days)

Northern Giant-Petrel (1 on Sunday)

Giant-Petrel sp. (1 on Saturday)

Great-winged Petrel (1 on Saturday)

Short-tailed Shearwater (hundreds on both

Wedge-tailed Shearwater (1 Saturday, 10+

Fluttering Shearwater (1 both days)

Fairy Prion (about 30 both days)

Grey-backed Storm-Petrel (1 both days)

Wilson’s Storm-Petrel (Sunday)

White-faced Storm-Petrel (Saturday)

Common Diving-Petrel (c. 60 both days)

Australasian Gannet

Crested Tern



Australian Fur Seal

Humpback Whale

Pygmy Killer Whale (pod of 10+ on Sunday)

Common Dolphin



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