BirdLife Australia pelagic Trip off Portland Vic April 2015

Subject: BirdLife Australia pelagic Trip off Portland Vic April 2015
From: Rohan Clarke <>
Date: Tue, 14 Apr 2015 21:23:29 +1000
Hi All,
Here's the trip report for the pelagic that got off Portland on the weekend.

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 to mild.

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 species.

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 unidentified.

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 Pomarine.

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.

Rohan Clarke

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