BirdLife Victoria Pelagic off Portland, Victoria, Sunday 7 September 2014
Participants: Tim Bawden, John Boyce, David Burren, Paul Dodd, Christian
Doerig and his second son, Guillaume Doerig, Brian Johnston, Rosemary
Lester, James Mustafa, Ruth Woodrow, Chris Lester (organiser).
Crew: Peter and Darren.
Activity: Departed Portland arbour aboard the Southern Pride boat at
06.55 heading just south-west to the shelf. Went straight past the shelf
except for a brief stop for the Gould's Petrels. Our first stop was at
38°42.000'S, 141°22.228'E in 200 fathoms of water, where we berleyed
from 9.30 till 10.30. We moved to the south-west to 38°46.547'S,
141°21.103'E in 275 fathoms and stayed there from 11.00 until 11.40. We
moved further south and berleyed at 38°51.017'S, 141°21.872'E in 500
fathoms from 12.10 until 12.45. Headed back in, stopping at 38°43.367'S,
141°26.648'E in 105 fathoms from 13.55 until 15.00. We then headed into
Portland passing Lawrence Rocks, where we had a good look, before
returning and docking at 17.40.
Conditions: Initially, there was a light wind of about 10 knots from the
NE. The sea was less than 0.5 m with a swell of 1 m. There was no cloud
cover at all and it was quite pleasant. In the middle of the day, the
wind rose to about 15 knots and the swell increased to 1.5 m with a sea
of about 1 m. Then, the wind progressively went down to a slight breeze
of less than 5 knots. The swell went down below 1 m with no sea. It
stayed cloudless. This was against the prediction of winds of 15 - 20
knots with rising seas. Nice for comfort but not for the birds.
Summary: Below average diversity with only 17 identified species of
seabird recorded during the trip and with the numbers of most regular
species well down. The highlights were the Killer Whales and the Gould's
Petrels. Most of the pelagic birds were at the first stop with very few
at each of the three subsequent stops. This was disappointing as there
were quite a few birds on the way out, which promised good things.
Common Dolphin: about 10 on the way out.
Killer Whale: a pod of 4 or 5 in the distance at the last stop.
Australian Fur Seal: the normal numbers (about 50) loafing at Lawrence
Grey-backed Storm-Petrel: 2 (1). Pelagic.
Black-browed Albatross: 20 (10). All that were identified were race
melanophrys with 2 or 3 juveniles. Inshore and pelagic.
Albatross sp: On the way out, we saw an albatross which looked good for
a juvenile Grey-headed. While we had a good view of it, it still could
have been a juvenile Black-browed. As they can be impossible to
separate at this age, we remained uncertain. Unfortunately, we didn't
get any pictures.
Shy Albatross: 30 (15). All race cauta. Pelagic with quite a few inshore.
Yellow-nosed Albatross: 4 (2). Pelagic.
Northern Giant-Petrel: 2 (2). Pelagic.
Cape Petrel: 1. Pelagic.
Fairy Prion: 100 (30). Inshore and pelagic.
Sooty Shearwater: 2 (1). Pelagic.
Fluttering Shearwater: 2 (2). On the way out.
Hutton's Shearwater: 2 (2). On the way out.
Flutton's Shearwater: Small numbers on the way out.
Great-winged Petrel: 2 (1). Both race gouldi. Pelagic.
Gould's Petrel: 2 (2). Inshore on the way out.
Australasian Gannet: 20 (10) + several 1000 (LR). On the way out and in
with lots on Lawrence Rocks.
Black-faced Cormorant: 10 (5) + 100 (LR). All on or near Lawrence Rocks.
White-fronted Tern: 1. Pelagic.
Kelp Gull: 5. At Lawrence Rocks.
Silver Gull: 100 at Lawrence Rocks and a few more in Portland Harbour.
There was also a Pied Oystercatcher and 10 Crested Terns in Portland
Harbour with a Blue-winged Parrot flying over.
For details of future Portland trips, go to the BirdLife Australia web
site at the bottom of the page on
For reports of past BA-Vic and BirdLife Australia trips from Portland
and Port Fairy, search the Birding-Aus archives for the trip reports at
<BR> Birding-Aus mailing list
<BR> To change settings or unsubscribe visit: