Southport March 15th

To: <>
Subject: Southport March 15th
From: "Paul Walbridge" <>
Date: Fri, 21 Mar 2014 07:16:39 +1000
Hi All, below is last Saturdays' Southport pelagic report.

Location: Southport, Queensland
Date: 15/3/2014
Vessel: 37 ft Steber monohull, MV Grinner
Crew: Craig Newton (skipper)

Paul Walbridge (leader & organiser), Rob Morris, Glen Pacey, Kevin
Bartram, Stuart Pickering, Andrew Sutherland, John Weigel, Chris Wiley,
Shealagh Walker, Raja Stephenson, Noel Luff, Belinda Rafton, Bill Lowe,
Maria Sanchez-Arevalo.

Weather conditions:
A high near New Zealand extended a ridge along the southern coast of
Queensland; bringing light SW to SE winds to SEQ waters swinging around
to ENE the northerly later in the day, never reaching 10 knots. Some
high cloud early with occasional rain squalls noted but mainly a fine
sunny day with excellent viewing conditions. Maximum air temp. 27* C,
barometer 1016 hPa.

Sea conditions:
An ex cyclone south of the Solomon*s, heading for New Zealand
produced powerful 2-2.5 metre swells but spaced well apart and with no
seas to speak of throughout the day. Sea surface temps. 23* C at
theSeaway, 25.3* C at the shelf-break and a maximum of 27.6* C out

Left the Seaway at 0605 hrs and proceeded out ENE to the Riviera
grounds, checking the recently anchored FAD for recent wave damage, just
outside the shelf-break, on the way. Reached the final drift point at
0845 hrs and continued to drift ESE at less than 2 knots until 1215 hrs,
then headed for home. Reached the Southport Seaway at 1530 hrs, duration
of trip 9hrs 25 mins.
On leaving the Seaway there was a large flock of foraging Common Terns
just to the north. We then encountered several trawlers from 3nm to 6 nm
offshore and two were approached closely, revealing mostly Crested Terns
and Wedge-tailed Shearwaters but also 2 species of Cormorants and a few
fresh plumaged Pomarine Jaegers and one or two Hutton*s Shearwaters.
Conditions were very calm crossing the shelf and few birds sighted with
just the occasional foraging Wedge-tailed and Hutton*s Shearwaters. 
On reaching the final drift point there was very little wind to carry
the scent of the berley and it was some minutes before the first
Wilson*s Storm-Petrel appeared, followed shortly by a couple of
Wedge-tailed Shearwaters. It was a good 25 mins later at 0900 hrs before
the first Tahiti Petrel arrived on the scene and just a few minutes
later a dark phase Kermadec Petrel came into view close to the vessel
and remained for some considerable time, mostly down the slick but
making the occasional close recce around the vessel. At 0945 hrs the
first of three Great-winged Petrels arrived at the stern, as usual a New
Zealand bird and it wasn*t until 1025 hrs that a new species turned up
in the shape of a Flesh-footed Shearwater. At 1035 hrs and for the
second month in a row a solitary Black Noddy was sighted foraging around
the slick. 
With almost a total lack of wind many of the birds in the slick were
now resting on the sea surface with just the occasional close approach
when the food supply ran out and with so few birds around, with the lack
of competition, they spent most of the time away from the vessel. On
heading for home a small foraging group of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters,
Hutton*s Shearwater, Flesh-footed Shearwaters and a Tahiti Petrel were
encountered just inside the shelf-break but very little else before
arriving back at the seaway.
Wilson*s Storm Petrel * 4 (2)
Wedge-tailed Shearwater * 278 (150)
Flesh-footed Shearwater * 4 (2)
Hutton*s Shearwater * 6 (1)
Tahiti Petrel * 16 (5)
Kermadec Petrel * 1 
Great-winged Petrel * 3 (2) *gouldae*
Great Cormorant * 4 (3)
Pied Cormorant * 5 (2)
Pomarine Jaeger * 4 (3)
Black Noddy * 1 
Common Tern * 100 
Crested Tern * 440 (350)
Silver Gull * 23 (20)

There are still some spaces for the April 19th trip for anyone
interested. Contact Paul Walbridge on (PH) (H) 3256 4124 (W) 3139 4584
Cheers - Paul W.


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