Here's the trip report for the pelagic that got off Portland on the
BIRDLIFE AUSTRALIA PELAGIC TRIP OFF PORTLAND, VIC
Sunday 12 April 2015
OBSERVERS: Owen Lishmund, Tim Dolby, Tim Bawden, Scott Baker, Gina
Hopkins, Bernard Coetzee, David Burren, Newman brothers x 3 & Rohan
Clarke (report compiler).
WEATHER: 50-80% cloud through the day, with a brief period of very light
drizzle. Occasional sunny patches. Wind from the SE throughout the day,
mostly around 10 knots, gusting to 15 knots in the late afternoon. Cool
SEA: A 1-1.5 m short interval swell throughout the day. Wind-driven sea
of ~1 m from the same ~southerly direction meant that whilst we rocked
and rolled a little it was never a ‘washing machine’. One seasick.
ACTIVITY: Sailed at 0700. Headed directly to the shelf break within ‘The
Horseshoe’. Fairly quiet on the way out, with a small concentration of
prions at about the 80 fathom mark. Made a brief stop here for a distant
cookilaria that remained unidentified. Crossed the shelf break (100
fathoms) at 0940 before making our first stop at 38º41’30”S 141º21’55”E
over 140 fathoms of water where we berleyed with shark liver. Two
further stops were made; one over 400-500 fathom and the other back on
the shelf a little east of our first stop. Headed back in at 1420. We
skipped Lawrence Rocks given extra time at the shelf and a messy inshore
sea (so the list is missing a few regulars such as Kelp Gull) before
docking at 1630.
MAMMALS: Australian Fur Seals: an adult male at the second berley point
and another subadult near Lawrence Rocks in the PM
Common Dolphin: Two together in the AM in inshore waters. Another couple
of small dolphins in roughly the same area in the PM were probably this
BIRDS: 26 species (27 taxa) of seabird beyond the breakwater indicated
average diversity. Highlights were the good numbers of albatross
including several Buller’s Albatross in pelagic waters and the
Soft-plumaged and White-headed Petrels.
Wilson’s Storm-Petrel: 40 (20). 1 offshore in AM, remainder pelagic.
Grey-backed Storm-Petrel: 6 (3). All pelagic.
White-faced Storm-Petrel: 5 (2). 2 offshore, remainder pelagic. One with
very worn flight feathers.
Wandering Albatross: 1 pelagic. exulens-like but it unfortunately didn’t
approach that closely (photos might resolve later).
Black-browed Albatross: 25 (10). 2 inshore, 5 offshore, remainder
pelagic. 6 immature, 1 juvenile, remainder adult.
Campbell Albatross: 12 (6). All pelagic. 2 immature, remainder adult.
Shy Albatross: all cauta/steadi 100 (55). 5 inshore, 7 offshore,
remainder pelagic. 15 immature, 1 juvenile, remainder adult.
Yellow-nosed Albatross: 11 (5). All pelagic. 4 immature, remainder adult.
Buller’s Albatross: 6 (3). All pelagic. All adult.
Fairy Prion: 105 (40). 25 offshore, remainder pelagic.
Short-tailed Shearwater: 70 (30). 25 inshore, 10 offshore, remainder
pelagic including 2-3 in feeding at the back of the boat.
Sooty Shearwater: 1 pelagic.
Fleshy-footed Shearwater: 4 (2). All pelagic.
Hutton’s Shearwater: 1 inshore in the PM.
Fluttering Shearwater: 130 (10). 30 offshore in the AM, 1 pelagic, ~100
inshore in the PM. Also about 50 ‘Fluttons’ on the way out that remained
White-chinned Petrel: 8 (3). All pelagic.
Great-winged Petrel: nominate 13(5), gouldii 5 (2). All pelagic.
White-headed Petrel: 1 pelagic at the second berley point.
SOFT-PLUMAGED PETREL: 1 pelagic. A very showy bird that circled the back
of the boat at the second berley point for about 20 minutes. Regularly
touched down to grab morsels from the sea. Everyone with a camera will
have a good image or two! Also at least one cookilaria that got away
from us in offshore waters - it was probably a Gould’s Petrel but it was
too distant to nail.
Little Penguin: 1 inshore in the AM
Australasian Gannet: 48 (20). 9 pelagic, 33 inshore, 6 offshore. 7
juvenile, remainder adult.
Black-faced Cormorant: 2 inshore in the PM.
Arctic Jaeger: 1 pale bellied bird inshore in the AM and another (or the
same one) in roughly the same area in the PM. A couple of other
unidentified jaegers in inshore waters including one that was probably a
Southern Skua: 1 at first berley point (pelagic).
Crested Tern: 45 (20). 43 inshore, 2 offshore.
Silver Gull: 35 inshore in AM, similar number inshore in PM.
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