BirdLife Australia Pelagic off Portland, Victoria, Sunday 1 June 2014 tr

Subject: BirdLife Australia Pelagic off Portland, Victoria, Sunday 1 June 2014 trip report
From: Rohan Clarke <>
Date: Tue, 03 Jun 2014 20:45:59 +1000
Hi All,
Here's a trip report for the BirdLife Australia pelagic that got off Portland, western Vic on Sunday 1st June.
Rohan Clarke

BirdLife Australia Pelagic off Portland, Victoria, Sunday 1 June 2014

Participants: Scott Baker, Tim Bawden, Paul Dodd, Dougald Frederick, Christine Giuliano, Lyle Harding, Malcolm Harding, John McRae, Rowan Mott, Ruth Woodrow, John Weigel and Rohan Clarke (report compiler). Thanks to Chris Lester for organising!

Activity: Departed Portland Harbour aboard the 'Southern Pride' at 0705 (in the dark), passing between Lawrence Rocks and Point Danger and heading south-west to the shelf. We crossed the shelf at 1000 and stopped for the first of three berley sessions a few minutes later (38°41.83?E, 141°18.10?S ~220 fathoms). Berleyed here till 1140 before moving to 38°43.23?E, 141°12.80?S over ~750 fathoms water. We had a third short (30 min) berley session at 38 37.15 E, 141 19.66 S over 80 fathoms. Headed back in at 1430. Given the large sea we didn't visit Lawrence Rocks, and instead headed straight for the harbour, arriving at 1650.

Conditions: Wind 15-20 knots from the south-east for much of the day increasing to 25 knots around 1000 for an hour or so. The wind moderated around midday and was down to 10-15 knots by the time we had returned to the harbour. Cool to mild. There was a 2-2.5 m swell inshore and a 2-3 m swell beyond the shelf. On top of this a 1-2 m sea made for an 'interesting' ride, though as we were beam on there was more rocking and rolling than crashing through when underway. Dark low clouds and patchy rain squalls at first but clearing a little through the day to some patches of sunlight by the third berley point. Given the rough conditions the ride was more pleasant than one might have expected, though two were seasick. Average diversity with 22 species of seabird recorded during the trip.

Common Dolphin: 4 small pods of 2-5 animals in offshore and pelagic waters through the day.

Bottle-nosed Dolphin: 2+ adults in offshore waters in the AM.

Australian Fur Seal. A single sub-adult in offshore waters in the PM.

Black-browed Albatross: 65 (30). 2 adults, 2 imms offshore, remainder pelagic (2 juvs, 4 imms, 55 adult), though many followed us back into offshore waters in the PM. Two different birds with alpha-numeric darvic bands.

Campbell Island Albatross (impavida): 13 (6). All pelagic, though 3 followed us back to the third berley point over 80 fathoms of water. 1 imm (pelagic), remainder adult.

Shy Albatross (cauta): 50 (12). 1 adult, 1 imm inshore, 12 adults, 2 imms offshore, 30 adults, 4 imms pelagic.

Buller's Albatross: 5 (3). 1 offshore, remainder pelagic, though 2 followed us all the way back to Cape Nelson in the PM. All adult - as is the norm for Victoria.

Yellow-nosed Albatross: 5 (3). 1 adult offshore, 3 adults pelagic, 1 imm/near-adult pelagic.

New Zealand (Wandering) Albatross: 2, both gibsoni. An older adult male at the first and second berley points and a female type at the second berley point.

Northern Giant Petrel: 6 (3). 1 fresh juv at the first berley point, was joined by 2 more juvs at the second berley point. Several of these followed us back in but we also had 3 worn immature-plumaged birds in inshore waters in the PM.

White-chinned Petrel: 1 rather worn and tatty looking individual at the second berley stop. Uncommon off western Victoria in June.

Great-winged Petrel:
macroptera - 75 (28). 1 inshore in the AM over 28 fathoms (perhaps the closest we've had this species to the harbour?), 2 offshore over 63 fathoms, and 10 at the third berley point over 80 fathoms, remainder pelagic.
gouldii -- 5 (3). All pelagic.

SOFT-PLUMAGED PETREL: 1 in offshore waters in the AM. Would have been the bird of the day had it not been a speck on the horizon!

Cape Petrel: 3 (3). All of the nominate form. All pelagic, though 2 followed us back into inshore waters in the PM.

Fairy Prion: 180 (30). 1 inshore, 100 offshore, remainder pelagic.

ANTARCTIC PRION: 3 (2). All pelagic at the first berley point. A couple of other 'whale birds' were seen in offshore waters in the AM but they were not identified to species.

Wilson's Storm-Petrel: 25 (15). 1 offshore in the AM, 2 at third berley point, remainder pelagic. Several individuals with very tatty flight feathers and worn covert bars, others in fresh plumage.

Grey-backed Storm-Petrel: 17 (5). 2 offshore in the AM, 3 at third berley point, remainder pelagic.

Sooty Shearwater: 8 (4) 2 pelagic, 6 at the third berley point over 80 fathoms. Some interesting plumages including 2 very worn birds in heavy primary moult and a juvenile with relatively dark underwings.

Fluttering/Hutton's Shearwater: 1 in inshore waters in the PM not identified to species.

Australian Gannet: 75 (30). Mostly inshore, 30 offshore, 4 pelagic at the first berley point. Mostly adult, 3 juvs/imms inshore in the PM. 1000s visible in the distance on Lawrence Rocks.

Black-faced Cormorant: 1 inshore in the AM, 2 more in the same area in the PM.

Southern Skua: A single seen distantly in inshore waters in the AM.

Crested Tern: 40 (8). 5 offshore, remainder inshore.

Silver Gull: 7 inshore in the AM and 30 inshore in the PM.

Pacific Gull: 1 adult in inshore waters in PM.

-- Rohan Clarke Latest updates
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