Here's a trip report for the first of two BirdLife Australia pelagics that got
Eaglehawk Neck on Saturday 19 July 2014.
BIRDLIFE AUSTRALIA PELAGIC TRIP off EAGLEHAWK NECK, Tas, Saturday 19th July 2014
OBSERVERS: Tim Bawden, Alan Gillanders, Peter Lansley, Dougald Frederick, Rob
Hamilton, Els Wakefield, John Weigel, Glen Pacey, Gil Langfield, Scott Baker,
Jeanie Churchward, Ian Churchward and Rohan Clarke (organiser/report compiler).
WEATHER: A 10 knot SW wind inshore increasing to 20-30 knots out at the shelf
then moderating to 15-20 knots by 1100. 70 - 95% cloud all day with scarce
moments of sunshine. Good visibility. Cold all day.
SEA: Initially calm in sheltered waters out to the Hippolytes increasing to
rough seas of 1-2 m on a steep, short interval swell of 2-3 m with occasional
sets to 4 m. A bit of rocking and rolling on those steeper swells through the
day but not a lot of spray.
ACTIVITY: Sailed at ~0710 EST. Headed out past the Hipploytes rock stack before proceeding to the shelf which we crossed at 0910. Our first stop at
43º12.29’S 148º14.87’E started over 320 fathoms were we berleyed with fish discards and chicken skin. A second stop at
43º12.23’S 148º16.86’E over 650 fathoms with a final berley stop at 43º00.78’S 147º56.43’E over 600+
fathoms of water. Headed back in at 1310, docking at around 1510.
Australian Fur Seal: 15 on the Hippolytes. 2 inshore in the AM.
BIRDS: 27 species (IOC taxonomy) beyond Pirates Bay indicates good diversity,
especially for a winter pelagic. Highlights were good views of Grey Petrels,
prolonged but distant Blue Petrel and Southern Royal Albatross.
Little Penguin: 1 pelagic – seen by a single participant only.
Great-winged Petrel: 15 (6). Mostly ssp. gouldii, but 1 nominate bird seen
well. All pelagic.
WHITE-HEADED PETREL: 3 (1). Three flybys at the third berley point were
probably different individuals given they each approached from the north and
departed to the south.
GREY PETREL: 5 (2). Excellent views though most individuals only hung around
for 3-4 passes as it typical of the species.
BLUE PETREL: 1. A single bird at the third stop stayed over the berley trail
for 20 or more minutes but mostly remained rather distant.
Common Diving Petrel: 17 (5). 3 inshore, 13 offshore, 1 pelagic.
Fairy Prion: 1 followed the boat for a short period just after we’d crossed the
shelf. Surprisingly, we did not attract the species at any of the berley stops.
Northern Giant-Petrel: 2 (2). One juvenile, 1 immature, both pelagic.
Wandering Albatross: 1 older exulens/Snowy seen briefly at the third berley
Antipodean Albatross: 7 different individuals on plumage. 6 gibsoni, 1 clear
antipodensis with a very dark cap. Motley brown birds through to adult males.
All pelagic. Also an all brown juvenile not identified to species (ie
SOUTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS: 4 (3). 3 young adults, 1 slightly older bird. All
Black-browed Albatross: 2 (1). Both adult. One at third berley point, 1
offshore in the PM.
Campbell Island Albatross: 6 (3). 2 x ~second year birds, 2 x ~third year
birds, 1 ~fourth year bird, 1 adult. All pelagic.
Shy Albatross cauta/steadi: 80 (30). 11 adults inshore, 10 adults offshore,
remainder pelagic, including 5 imm birds and 2 juv.
Yellow-nosed Albatross: 1. An adult at the third berley point.
Buller’s Albatross: 30 (10). 6 inshore, 7 offshore, remainder pelagic. All
Grey-backed Storm-Petrel: 1 at the third berley point.
Short-tailed Shearwater: 2 (1). Both pelagic.
Sooty Shearwater: 3 (1). All pelagic.
Black-faced Cormorant: 3 inshore in the AM and 10 on and around Hippolyte Rock.
Australasian Gannet: 22 (10). 20 inshore and 2 pelagic at the third berley
point. Also 18 around the Hippolytes.
Crested Tern: 35 (10). 27 inshore, 1 offshore and 7 pelagic.
White-fronted Tern: 1 offshore in the PM. Distant (rubbish) views only.
Brown Skua: 1 inshore in the AM. Distant views only.
Kelp Gull: 10 (5). 10 adults inshore. Also 30 on the Hippolytes.
Pacific Gull: 2 adults inshore in AM, 1 adult, 1 juvenile on the Hippolytes.
Silver Gull: 4 inshore in the AM.
A White-faced Heron at the Hippolytes rounded out the list.
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