Eaglehawk Neck Pelagic 10th February, 2014

To: Robert Hamilton <>, Birding Aus Aus <>
Subject: Eaglehawk Neck Pelagic 10th February, 2014
From: Nikolas Haass <>
Date: Tue, 18 Feb 2014 17:02:42 -0800 (PST)
Hi Rob, Paul et al.,

SHEPHERD's BEAKED WHALEs - Mega! Congrats!!!

By the way I believe that all Wandering-types except for the last one in your 
series are Gibson's. The last one might be a 'proper Wanderer'


Nikolas Haass

Brisbane, QLD

 From: Robert Hamilton <>
To: Birding Aus Aus <> 
Sent: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 6:05 AM
Subject: [Birding-Aus] Eaglehawk Neck Pelagic 10th February, 2014

Hi everyone,

Here is  the report from the Eaglehawk Neck pelagic of 10th February, 2014. My 
photos are in the link below.

Rob Hamilton
Margate, Tasmania


Participants: Phil and Linda Cross, Bob James, Sandra Harding, Karen Dick, Els 
Wakefield, Mona Loofs Samorzewski, Timothy Collins ,Rob Hamilton. Trip 
organized by Paul Brooks.

Boat: The Pauletta skippered by John Males.

We left Pirates Bay at 7am, the day after a storm, which produced winds up to 
130km per hour in southeast Tasmania. Wind was light and variable until about 
11am when it strengthened to 10-20 knots from the SSW, gusting to 30 knots. 
(Details from BOM Tasman Island records). Swell was generally less than 1 metre 
with 1-2 metre wind waves.

Soon after leaving Pirates Bay we encountered our first Shy Albatross with two 
or three following us to the Hippolytes. There were the usual Black-faced 
Cormorants flying between the Hippolytes and the shore and one or two 
Australasian Gannet. There were large numbers of these two species roosting on 
both Hippolyte rocks as well as Crested Tern roosting on the smaller rock. 20 
or so Australian Fur Seals were lounging on the rocks and an occasional one was 
seen at sea.
From the Hippolytes we headed east towards the continental shelf and soon 
started to see a few Short-tailed Shearwater which were mostly distant, and in 
smaller numbers than usually encountered at this time of the year. We had a 
short visit from a small group of Common Dolphin.

By about 8.30am we started to burley and immediately attracted good numbers of 
White-faced and Grey-backed Storm Petrel, which stayed with us for most of the 
day. They came very close to the stern of the boat at times, often passing 
within 3 metres.There were often upward of 15 mixed species present at one time 
with their activity making accurate counts very difficult.  We attracted a 
crowd of Shy and Bullers Albatross as well as White-chinned Petrel. Small 
numbers of Wandering Albatross and Black-browed visited, as did a single 
Northern Royal and Salvin’s Albatross.  A single small Shearwater settled in 
the slick close to the boat and added much excitement and discussion on the 
boat and later that evening. Its identity was eventually settled, thanks to 
Rohan Clarke, as a young Fluttering Shearwater. A second bird with slightly 
different markings, settled later in the slick.

We stayed at the initial spot -43.130012,  148.270286, until about 11am when we 
moved about 5km north and from there drifted about 5km east of the shelf. We 
continued to see good numbers of Storm Petrel as we travelled and had our first 
Wilson’s  Storm Petrel while moving, as well as a single pass of a White-headed 

As we approached the proposed second burley point a shout of whales went out 
and we were treated to several small whales which surfaced only a couple of 
times, but appeared long enough to allow some good photo opportunities.  Their 
contrasting cream bulbous heads and grey bodies were an exceptional sight. It 
was exciting to have them later identified, from our photos, as Shepherd’s 
Beaked Whales, representing the 4th reported live sighting of this rare species.
We again had a crowd of Storm Petrel once the burley started again, with more 
Wilson’s turning up. A second very obliging White-headed Petrel made several 
very close passes to the boat giving everyone very good views. Shy, Bullers and 
an occasional Wandering Albatross stayed near the boat as did a number of 
White-chinned Petrel.

We started the return journey at around 1.15pm. Some larger groups of 
Short-tailed Shearwater, including a small raft were seen on the way in as well 
as a few Common Dolphin. We arrived back in Pirates Bay soon after 3pm.
Mammal Species:
Australian Fur Seal  c. 20  Hippolytes , 1 or 2 at sea
Short-beaked Common Dolphin c. 10 in 2 visits to the boat
Shepherd’s Beaked Whale  c. 3
Bird Species:

Wandering-type Albatross: 6 (2) Gibson’s and young birds.
Northern Royal Albatross: 1 (1)

Black-browed Albatross: 3 (1)

Shy Albatross: c. 40 (15)

Buller’s Albatross: c. 25 (12)

Salvin’s Albatross: 1 (1)

Fairy Prion: 10 (2)

White-headed Petrel: 2 (1)

White-chinned Petrel: 15 (6)

Sooty Shearwater: 6 (1)

Short-tailed Shearwater: 1000 (200)

Fluttering Shearwater: 2 (1)

Grey-backed Storm Petrel: c. 40 (6)

White-faced Storm Petrel: c. 60 (9)

Wilson’s Storm Petrel: 8 (2)

Common Diving Petrel: 2 (1)

Black-faced Cormorant: 300 Most were roosting on the Hippolytes.

Australasian Gannet: 200 Most were roosting on the Hippolytes.

Silver Gull: 30 (3)

Pacific Gull: 2 (1)

Kelp Gull: 15 (2)

Greater Crested Tern: 200 Roosting on the Hippolytes and rocks at Pirates Bay.

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