Highlights from the Portland (Victoria) pelagic on Sunday

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Highlights from the Portland (Victoria) pelagic on Sunday
From: Paul Dodd <>
Date: Tue, 16 Jun 2015 07:23:12 +0000
Hi birders,

This isn't the trip report from last Sunday's Portland (Victoria) pelagic -
Chris Lester will post that shortly, I'm sure. For those not on Facebook,
you may not be across the news of the sightings.

After what we all thought was quite an ordinary day at sea, we were lucky
enough to have an adult Salvin's Albatross fly in at our third berley point
- great views were had by all participants and the bird quickly became (by
far) the most photographed bird of the trip.

Yesterday evening, Tim Bawden loaded a selection of his photos onto
Facebook, quite innocently misidentifying a tern that we'd seen as a
White-fronted Tern. We had, in fact, seen quite a number of White-fronted
terns at sea that day - somewhat unusually. Within a minute or two a number
of the seabird experts immediately identified the bird as a juvenile

Funnily enough, Scott Baker and I had been discussing the terns that we'd
seen, and I think we'd both made a mental note to review the photos when we
got back to land, thinking that one of the birds may have been a wayward
Arctic Tern because of the shorter bill and translucent secondaries. I had
given it no further thought, as I'm sure no-one else had, and had been
busily processing and publishing pictures of the Salvin's Albatross as I was
sure that they were the images that people would want to see.

According to the experts, though, for our bird to be an Arctic Tern, it
would be in reverse breeding cycle, making it a highly unusual bird. Coupled
with the black trailing edge to wings the only possibility was Antarctic

As far as I know, Tim's images are only available on Facebook, but I have
managed to publish my images to my web site as well as to Facebook:

Here's a shorter version of the link in case the birding-aus mailing-list
server truncates this one:

I also quickly reviewed Ruth's images last night and it would appear that
she has photographs of at least two, possibly three individual Antarctic
Terns. There was one definite Antarctic Tern in the first flight of terns
that came through and another bird that looks like a possibility. Then there
was another definite Antarctic Tern in the second flight of terns - around
20 minutes later, by my count (but Tim says 40 minutes later).

Far from being an ordinary trip, this now makes it one of the most
extraordinary (and successful) Portland pelagics of recent years!

Paul Dodd

Docklands, Victoria

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