Here's the trip report for last Sunday's pelagic off Eaglehawk Neck.
BIRDLIFE AUSTRALIA PELAGIC TRIP OFF EAGLEHAWK NECK, TASMANIA
Sunday 19 July 2015
OBSERVERS: Glen Pacey, Nikolas Haass, Raja Stephenson, Tim Bawden, Paul
Newman, Heyn de Kock, Bernie O'Keefe, Allan Richardson, Geoff Bromfield,
Scott Baker, Kevin Bartram, Rowan Mott and Rohan Clarke (organiser,
WEATHER: Mostly clear skies (5-10% cloud) through much of the day. Wind
north-westerly. Initially almost calm, then a 5 knot variable wind in
offshore waters, before increasing to a 10 knot north-westerly by 930 am
where it then remained for the rest of the day. Despite the wind
direction the air temp remained cold.
SEA: Initially a 0.25m sea on a 1 m swell in inshore waters, building to
a 1.5 m seaon a 2 m swell beyond the shelf. The wind held us side on to
the swell when stationary to berley so we actually rolled about more
than we did the previous day when conditions were much rougher. Very
little spray for the day.
ACTIVITY: Departed Pirates Bay Wharf at 0715 EST. Headed out to the
north of the Hippolytes without the usual inspection of the island on to
the shelf (200 m depth). Crossed the shelf break (100 fathoms) at 0850
before making our first stop about a mile beyond the shelf over 250-300
fathoms of water. Very good numbers of birds at the first berley point
suggested we were in for a good day but the hoped for rarities didn't
materialise and as the day continued numbers of birds declined (e.g. 120
albatross at the first berley point but just 50 albatross at the 3rd
berley point). We tried a bit further out (450-550 fathoms) before a
third role of the dice a little further to the north over 300-400
fathoms. Started heading in at around 1300. Docked a little before 1500.
Australian Fur-Seal: 1 at the shelf.
Common Dolphin: ~40 as a dispersed pod in inshore waters in the AM.
BIRDS: 25 species of seabird beyond the point at Pirates Bay is an
average count for a Tasmanian pelagic in winter. The hoped for Blue and
Grey Petrels seen the previous day were missing (no doubt due to the
wind change) but in their place a nice adult Salvin's Albatross was the
bird of the day. Other good birds included Slender-billed and Antarctic
Prion as well as good numbers of albatross generally.
Wandering Albatross: (exulens) 1 adult (stage 5) at the first berley point.
Antipodean Albatross: (gibsoni). 2 individuals. Both pelagic. Plumage
consistent with adult males.
Southern Royal Albatross: 2 (1). Different birds on plumage. Both
pelagic both immature/sub-adult.
Campbell Island Albatross: 6 (2). All pelagic. All adults.
Shy Albatross: 100 (50). all cauta: 4 inshore, 13 offshore, ~75 pelagic.
All adult except for 1 immature offshore and 3 juveniles pelagic at the
last berley point.
SALVIN'S ALBATROSS: 1 adult pelagic that attended the berley for a
little while. A juvenile seen on the return leg was probably also this
species but am yet to check the images.
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross: 3 (2). All pelagic, all adult.
Buller's Albatross: 120 (70). 4 offshore in the AM, remainder pelagic,
though quite a few followed us back in. The dominant albatross species
at one of the berley points. All adults.
Grey-backed Storm-Petrel: 4 (2). All pelagic.
Sooty Shearwater: 11 (2). 10 pelagic, 1 offshore in the PM. A couple of
interesting looking birds with quite dark underwings but scrutiny
confirmed all as Sooty.
Northern Giant-Petrel: 1 juvenile, 1 immature. Both pelagic.
Great-winged Petrel: /gouldi/ 25 (10); all pelagic. /macroptera/: 3 (1)
all pelagic at second berley point.
White-headed Petrel: 3 (1). All pelagic.
WHITE-CHINNED PETREL: 1 pelagic. A un-seasonal record of what is a
common summer bird off Tassie.
Cape Petrel: 2(1). 1 pelagic, 1 in offshore waters in the PM. Both capense.
SLENDER-BILLED PRION: 7 (3).All pelagic. Quite a few nice close approaches.
ANTARCTIC PRION: 2 (1). Both pelagic. Both appeared to be the more
narrow billed form.
Fairy Prion: 6 (3). 5 pelagic, 1 offshore in the PM. At least 1 of the
pelagic birds was a thick, stubby-billed bird that are thought to have a
Common Diving-Petrel: 30 (6). 16 inshore, 10 offshore in the AM, 1
pelagic and another 3 offshore in the PM.
Australasian Gannet: 12 (3). 1 inshore 7 offshore and 4 pelagic. A
single offshore immature, remainder adult.
Black-faced Cormorant: 2 (2). Both inshore in the AM.
Crested Tern: 10 (4). 1 inshore, 6 pelagic and 3 offshore in the PM. 1
immature pelagic, remainder adult.
Kelp Gull: 15 (5) 10 adults, 1 juvenile inshore in the AM and 5 adults,
2 juveniles inshore in the PM.
Pacific Gull:2 adult inshore in the AM, 2 adults and 1 second year bird
inshore in the PM.
Silver Gull: 4 inshore in the PM.
Also a White-bellied Sea-Eagle stooping on a Pacific Gull
(unsuccessfully) in inshore waters in the PM.
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