Here's the first of two trip reports from the weekend.
BIRDLIFE AUSTRALIA PELAGIC TRIP off EAGLEHAWK NECK, Tas, Saturday 13th
OBSERVERS: Scott Baker, Paul Dodd, Clive Garland, Ash Herrod, Brian
Johnston, Rowan Mott, Jim Sneddon, Jon Spicer-Bell, John Weigel, Andrew
Wood, Ruth Woodrow and Rohan Clarke (organiser/report compiler).
WEATHER: A wind of 5 knots or less all day; from the NNW in the AM
before dropping out for a while to reappear from the SW at midday.
Consequently warm in the AM, cool in the PM. Initially high hazy cloud
then patchy cloud cover from 10 am. Good light, good visibility.
SEA: Initially calm seas with almost no swell in sheltered waters out to
the Hippolytes increasing to 0.5-1 m sea on gentle swell of 2-3 m. A bit
of rocking and rolling on a few sets but otherwise a nice ride with
virtually no splash or spray.
ACTIVITY: Sailed at ~0710 EST. Headed out past the Hipploytes rock stack
before proceeding to the shelf which we crossed at 0855. Our first stop
at 43º13.06'S 148º13.26'E started over 250 fathoms were we berleyed with
fish discards and chicken skin. A second stop at 43º15.69'S 148º14.56'E
over 400 fathoms with a final berley stop at 43º18.56'S 148º18.40'E over
850+ fathoms of water. Headed back in at 1250, docking at around 1500.
Australian Fur Seal: 18 on the Hippolytes. 4 at sea just past the
Hippolytes in the AM.
Common Dolphin: A single adult surfaced in our wake several times in
inshore waters in the AM.
Blue Shark: 1 about 5 foot (honorary mammal)
BIRDS: 20 species (IOC taxonomy) beyond Pirates Bay indicates poor
diversity, for a spring pelagic. Highlight was both species of Royal
Albatross together in flight.
Great-winged Petrel: 3 (1). 2 gouldii, 1 nominate bird. All pelagic.
PROVIDENCE PETREL: 1. Very distant in pelagic waters on the way back in.
Cape Petrel: 2 (2). Both australe at the third berley point
Common Diving Petrel: 9 (4). 8 offshore, 1 pelagic.
Fairy Prion: 60 (10) All pelagic. Mostly just passing through with few
hanging around on the berley.
Northern Giant-Petrel: 2 (2). Both juvenile, both at the third berley
point. Another unidentified Giant-Petrel in inshore waters in the PM.
Antipodean Albatross: 2 different individuals on plumage. Both gibsoni,
both distant in pelagic waters.
SOUTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS: 3. 1 fresh juvenile, 2 immatures. All pelagic.
NORTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS: 1 juvenile at 1st and 3rd berley point.
Black-browed Albatross: 2 (1). Both adult. Both pelagic.
Shy Albatross cauta/steadi: 80 (32). 1 adult inshore, 12 adults
offshore, remainder pelagic, including 5 imm birds and 2 fresh looking
Yellow-nosed Albatross: 1. A sub adult at the third berley point.
Grey-backed Storm-Petrel: 2 (1) at the third berley point.
Sooty Shearwater: 4 (1). 3 pelagic, 1 offshore in the PM.
Black-faced Cormorant: 5 inshore in the AM and 20 on and around the
Australasian Gannet: 10 (3). All adults. 3 inshore and remainder
offshore. Also 4 around the Hippolytes.
Crested Tern: 40 (10). 6 inshore, 25 offshore, remainder pelagic.
Kelp Gull: 45 (20). 40 adults inshore, 3 immatures offshore, 1 immature,
1 juv pelagic. Also 10 on the Hippolytes.
Pacific Gull: 4 adults, 1 immature inshore in the AM.
Silver Gull: 10 (4). Mostly inshore, 2 offshore in the AM.
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