Australia (Victoria) pelagic off Portland, Victoria,
10 November 2013
Participants: Scott Baker, Tim Bawden, Mark Buckby,
A-M. Burgoine, Steve Clark, Iian Denham, Robert Farnes, Trevor Hunt, Heather
Saunders, Dave Torr, Glen White and Peter Lansley (report compiler). Excursion
led by P.S. Lansley & R. Farnes.
Activity: Aboard the Southern Pride, skippered by
‘Dodgy’, with Neville the deckhand. Left Portland harbour at 07:00 local time,
passing between Lawrence Rocks and Point Danger, then tracking south-west to
the shelf. At 08:50, we stopped at 38° 36.621’ S, 141° 31.950’ E for about 25
minutes to berley for a probable skua or jaeger that had been seen but it
didn’t come in. Travelled at c. 9 knots
reaching the first shelf-break berley point at 10:10 at position 38° 45.153’ S,
141° 26.468’ E.
Berleyed and accumulated birds here until 11:55,
drifting to 38° 44.450, 141° 26.126, before arriving at another berley point,
46.218’ S, 141° 20.805’ E at 12:30, drifting to 38° 45.769’ S, 141° 20.565’ E at
13:35. Proceeded to the final berley point at 38° 42.384’ S, 141° 25.002’ E
between 14:05 and 14:35. Then turned for home. Brief stop at the eastern side
of Lawrence Rocks at about 16:30
observing the gannetry before returning to Portland harbour, docking at 17:00.
Conditions: Light southerly
breeze and drizzle on departure, rising to squally moderate SSE wind briefly at
the first berley stop, then moderating. Overcast with two or three light
drizzle patches, mostly in morning, clearing to mostly sunny (cloud 30%) in
afternoon. Swell SW, 2 metres in AM, dropping to 1 metre in PM. Air temperature
cool to mild, varied from c. 11 - 15°C.
Close to average seabird diversity with 21
species recorded beyond the harbour.
Highlights were Wandering (Antipodean) Albatross
and 4 other albatross taxa. A good pelagic, with nothing particularly exciting
for the regulars.
Harbour: waters inshore from an
imaginary line drawn between the end of the Lee Breakwater and ‘The Corkscrew’.
Inshore: Sheltered waters of Portland Bay between the Harbour and the immediate
vicinity of Lawrence Rocks and Point Danger. Offshore: Open ocean
(continental slope) waters from just offshore from Lawrence Rocks and Point
to the edge of the continental shelf-break. Pelagic: At or beyond the
Counts quoted for a
species are estimated totals for a particular zone (i.e. inshore, offshore,
pelagic); figures in brackets are the maximum number together at one site.
Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis: One or
two following the boat offshore on the way out and 3+ on the return leg.
Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche (melanophris)
melanophris: 1 immature, pelagic stop 2.
Campbell Albatross Thalassarche (melanophris) impavida:
1 immature at pelagic stop 1; 1 adult at pelagic stop 2.
Shy Albatross Thalassarche cauta cauta: 1
inshore near Lawrence Rocks PM, 10 offshore, 100 (60) pelagic. Almost all adults
and considered to be local nominate cauta rather than NZ subspecies steadi.
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross Thalassarche (chlororhynchos)
carteri: 2 (1) pelagic.
Wandering (Antipodean) Albatross Diomedea (exulans)
antipodensis: 1, ‘leopard’ form, therefore probably taxon gibsoni, pelagic
stops 1 & 3 (same
Northern Giant-Petrel Macronectes halli: Three adults and an immature, all
Great-winged Petrel Pterodroma macroptera
macroptera: 5 (3). All pelagic.
White-chinned Petrel Procellaria aequinoctialis:
20(16), each pelagic stop and following between stops.
Wilson's Storm-Petrel Oceanites oceanicus:
2 offshore at first berley point, 8 (3) pelagic.
Grey-backed Storm-Petrel Garrodia nereis: 5
(3), all pelagic.
White-faced Storm-Petrel Pelagodroma marina:
5 (2), all pelagic.
Fairy Prion Pachyptila turtur: 1 inshore
near Lawrence Rocks PM, 7 (3) offshore, 20 (5) pelagic.
Short-tailed Shearwater Ardenna tenuirostris:
Total c. 500: 15 in harbour, 200
inshore, 200 (100) offshore, 80 (30) pelagic.
Sooty Shearwater Ardenna griseus: 1, pelagic between shelf-breaks stops 1 & 2.
Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia: 3 (1)
offshore in AM.
Australasian Gannet Morus serrator: 15 inshore plus some on Point Danger, 65
offshore, 1 pelagic and 2000+ on and around Lawrence Rocks, PM. At 17:30,
counted 170 on Point Danger – a relatively low number at this mainland colony
in November compared to previous years. Almost all adults (1 immature seen at
Black-faced Cormorant Phalacrocorax fuscesens:
1 at Lawrence Rocks and 1 in harbour PM.
Arctic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus: 1
seen distantly from the harbour (i.e. inshore) in the AM.
Crested Tern Thalasseus bergii: 100 in harbour AM & PM; 1 inshore, 30 (20)
offshore; 1 pelagic.
Silver Gull Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae: 10+ in harbour, 2 inshore in AM..
Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus: 1 adult at Lawrence
Rocks in PM.
Also seen in harbour only: Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax
carbo 1, Pied Cormorant Phalacrocorax
varius 1. The latter is rare in the Portland district.
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