BirdLife Australia Pelagic off Eaglehawk Neck, Tas, Sunday 20 July 2014

Subject: BirdLife Australia Pelagic off Eaglehawk Neck, Tas, Sunday 20 July 2014 trip report
From: Rohan Clarke <>
Date: Fri, 25 Jul 2014 21:27:37 +1000
Hi All,
Here's the trip report for the trip that got out on Sunday.


OBSERVERS: Tim Bawden, Gil Langfield, Jeremy O'Wheel, Peter Lansley, Elizabeth Lloyd, Rob Hamilton, Alan Gillanders, John Weigel, Glen Pacey, Scott Baker, Annette Hatten, Mark Stanley, Els Wakefield and Rohan Clarke (organiser/report compiler).

WEATHER: A 10 knot SW wing in the AM increasing to 15 knots beyond the shelf where it remained for the rest of the day. 90% cloud clearing to 50% cloud by midday with extended periods of sunshine. Good visibility. Cool to cold.

SEA: Reasonably flat through inshore waters with first real swell at the Hipploytes. In offshore and pelagic waters a 1 m sea on a 2-3 m swell. A bit more comfortable than on Saturday but we still rocked and rolled for most of the day. A bit of spray whilst underway and a few ankle-deep waves across the wash deck but otherwise dry.

ACTIVITY: Sailed at 0710 EST. Headed out past the Hipploytes rock stack before proceeding to the shelf which we crossed at 0920. Our first stop at 43º14.64’S 148º15.64’E over 300-460 fathoms where we berleyed with fish discards and chicken skin. We soon moved further out to 43º11.73’S 148º19.57’E. Because it took some time for bird numbers to build we stayed with the berley drifting 3 miles further out to finish over 800+ fathoms (~1.45 km!) of water. Headed back in at 1245 to reach the Pirates Bay Jetty around 1500.

MAMMALS: Australian Fur Seal: 8 on the Hippolytes.

New Zealand Fur Seal: 2 on the Hippolytes.

BIRDS: 23 seabird species (IOC taxonomy) beyond Pirates Bay indicates average diversity. Highlights were close approaches by a white morph Southern Giant Petrel, both Northern and Southern Royal Albatross and both Providence and White-headed Petrel.

Great-winged Petrel: 10 (5). An even split between ssp. gouldii, and the nominate ssp. All pelagic.

WHITE-HEADED PETREL: 1 at the second berley point hung around for a little while but never approached closely.

PROVIDENCE PETREL: 1 made several close passes at the second berley stop.

Cape Petrel: 1 that appeared to be a poorly marked individual of the nominate form followed us around in pelagic waters.

Common Diving Petrel: 70 (10). 5 inshore, 35 offshore, 1 pelagic, remainder offshore in the PM.

Northern Giant-Petrel: 4 (3). 1 juv, 3 imm. All pelagic.

SOUTHERN GIANT-PETREL: A stunning white morph that joined us just before the second berley stop and stayed with us for almost two hours. Probably the most photographed bird of the day by all on board. Some pics here...

Antipodean Albatross: A single distant individual at the second berley point.

SOUTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS: 5 (3). 3 young adults, 2 older adults (probably both males). 4 pelagic, 1 of the older birds followed us into offshore waters.

NORTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS: 1 at the first berley point made a good number of close passes.

Black-browed Albatross: 2 (1). Both adult. One at third berley point, 1 offshore in the PM.

Campbell Island Albatross: 2 (2). Both ~second year birds, both pelagic.

Shy Albatross cauta/steadi: 70 (32). 1 juv, 4 adults inshore, 5 adults offshore, remainder pelagic including 10 immature birds.

Buller’s Albatross: 10 (2). 3 offshore, remainder pelagic. All adult.

Grey-backed Storm-Petrel: 2 (1). 1 at the third berley point, 1 in offshore waters in the PM.

Short-tailed Shearwater: 1 pelagic.

Sooty Shearwater: 3 (2). All pelagic.

‘Fluttons’ Shearwater: A single Fluttering or Hutton’s Shearwater in offshore waters in the AM.

Black-faced Cormorant: 1 inshore in the AM and 3 on the Hippolytes.

Australasian Gannet: 8 (4). 7 inshore and 1 at the third berley point. All adult.

Crested Tern: 20 (8). 13 inshore, 2 offshore and 7 pelagic. Also 6 at the Hipploytes.

Kelp Gull: 3 adults inshore. Also 26 adults on and over the Hippolytes.

Pacific Gull: 1 adult inshore in the AM, 1 adult and 1 juv at the Hippolytes.

Silver Gull: 3 adults inshore in the AM.

Also 1 Forest Raven flying between Tasman Peninsula and the Hippolytes in the AM.

Rohan Clarke

Rohan Clarke

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