BirdLife Australia Pelagic trip off Eaglehawk Neck, Tas, Sunday 14th Sep

Subject: BirdLife Australia Pelagic trip off Eaglehawk Neck, Tas, Sunday 14th September 2014
From: Rohan Clarke <>
Date: Mon, 15 Sep 2014 07:29:10 +1000
Hi All,
Here's the second of the two trip reports for Eaglehawk Neck on the weekend.


OBSERVERS: Scott Baker, Mick Brasher, Karen Dick, Paul Dodd, Clive Garland, Brian Johnston, Mona Loofs Samorzewsk, Rowan Mott, Jon Spicer-Bell, John Weigel, Ruth Woodrow and Rohan Clarke (organiser/report compiler)

WEATHER: What a difference a day makes! Strong SW winds all day following the passage of a cold front prior before sunrise; never below 25 knots except when in close to the cliffs on the way out. At times extended periods of 30-35 knots with a few squally patches reaching 40 knots. Cool to cold all day. Patchy cloud with a couple of brief showers in the AM. Generally good light and good visibility.

SEA: Calm seas in sheltered waters out to the Hippolytes but thereafter increasing substantially. Messy 1-1.5 m sea on a 2-3 m short interval steep swell with occasional sets to 4 at a tide line at the shelf. Plenty of pitching, rocking and rolling through the day inc a couple of waves splashing onto the back deck and regularly curtains of spray. Good wet weather gear was essential on this occasion.

ACTIVITY: Departed at ~0700 EST. Headed out past the Hipploytes rock stack before proceeding to the shelf which we crossed at 0850. Our first stop at 43º09.98’S 148º13.03’E started over 250 fathoms were we berleyed with fish discards and chicken skin. Owing to the poor conditions we didn’t head out to deeper water and rather stayed here just over the shelf for most of the day (0910-1220), drifting 3 miles to 320 fathoms before motoring back to the start point to repeat the process. Headed back to the 100 fathom line for a second short berley session before heading for the harbour at 1300. Docked at around 1500.

Australian Fur Seal: 10 on the Hippolytes. 2 in inshore waters in the AM.

Common Dolphin: 3. An adult with calf and a subadult in inshore waters. Great views as these animals raced into the bow of the vessel with some nice leaps clear of the sea surface.

BIRDS: 21 species (IOC taxonomy) beyond Pirates Bay indicates poor/average diversity for a spring pelagic.

Little Penguin: 3 together inshore in the AM.

Great-winged Petrel: 15 (6). 1 nominate bird in offshore waters, 1 nominate bird in pelagic waters, remainder gouldii in pelagic waters.

WHITE-HEADED PETREL: 1. A single flyby in offshore waters at ~85 fathoms in the PM.

Cape Petrel: 4 (3). Three nominate, 1 australe, all pelagic through at least two followed us back into offshore waters.

Common Diving Petrel: 3 (2). 1 offshore in the AM, another 2 offshore in the PM. Also a dead bird floating at sea at the first berley stop.

Fairy Prion: ~1500 (500). ~250 offshore in the AM, remainder pelagic. Good numbers on the berley trail but relatively few made very close approaches.

Northern Giant-Petrel: 4 (3). All juvenile, all pelagic.

Southern Giant Petrel: 1 juvenile pelagic. Feeding at the back of the boat at the first berley point.

Wandering Albatross: 1 large and rather white bird that was probably exulens.

SOUTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS: 5 on plumage. 1 fresh juv, 2 immatures, 1 younger adult, 1 older adult. The juv was first seen over 83 fathoms (offshore), all others were pelagic.

Black-browed Albatross: 5 (3). All adult. 1 over inshore waters, remainder pelagic.

Shy Albatross cauta/steadi: 120 (45). 13 adults, 1 juv inshore, 22 adults offshore, remainder pelagic, including 10 imm birds and 4 fresh looking juvs.

Yellow-nosed Albatross: 1. A adult at the first berley point.

Grey-backed Storm-Petrel: 5 (3). All pelagic.

Sooty Shearwater: 1 pelagic.

Black-faced Cormorant: 4 inshore in the AM and 10 on and around the Hippolytes.

Australasian Gannet: 7 (2). All adults. 2 inshore, 2 offshore, 3 pelagic.

Crested Tern: 30 (10). 2 inshore, 15 offshore, remainder pelagic.

Kelp Gull: 30 (10). 30 adults inshore. Also 5 on the Hippolytes.

Pacific Gull: 2 adults inshore in the AM.

Silver Gull: 6 (4). All inshore.

Rohan Clarke

Rohan Clarke

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