Eaglehawk Pelagic, August 15th 2015 - Trip Report

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Eaglehawk Pelagic, August 15th 2015 - Trip Report
From: Paul Brooks <>
Date: Thu, 27 Aug 2015 21:23:13 +0000

Natalie Bool, Ruth Brozek, Darryl Eggins, Michael Hyland, Mona
Loofs-Samorzewski, Gordon Roberts,  Michael Vaughan, Peter Vaughan, George
Vaughan, Els Wakefield, Andrea Walters,  and Paul Brooks (organiser and
report compiler)


The Pauletta, skippered by John Males, with deckhand Michael Males.

Conditions and Activity:

Seas were calm in the light wind as we set out from Pirates Bay a bit after
0730 hrs.  The swell was around 1 metre, increasing to around 2 metres
towards the Hippolytes.  After circumnavigating the big rock we struck out
for the shelf break to the south-east.  The swell remained around 2 metres
but was confused and lumpy, making for a somewhat bumpy ride.  The light
wind was initially from the south but swung northerly around 0900 hrs,
staying around 5-10 knots all day.  We crossed the shelf-break and
continued for around 5 nm, stopping to berley over 300 fathoms, from 0820
hrs until 1245 hrs, with various fish frames and chicken skins.  Apart from
a brief jaunt back up our slick to check out a group of prions at 1215 hrs,
we didn’t move under power, drifting out to just 400 fathoms.  As has been
the case since April, offshore waters were nearly barren and there were
very few birds when we first pulled up beyond the shelf (in this case
exactly zero!).   Similarly to the other trips, however, bird numbers and
diversity built slowly and the trips have been excellent, this one being no
exception.  We headed for home at 1245 hrs, stopping briefly just outside
the shelf-break to inspect a congregation of birds around some fur seals,
docking at 1505 hrs.  Water temperature was 11.4 deg C inshore, increasing
to 12 deg C offshore and 13.7 deg C out wide.  Air temperature was in the
high single figures with little wind chill; cloud cover was negligible
throughout the day.


Australian/New Zealand Fur Seal: 1 probable male NZ Fur Seal on Cheverton
Rock; 1 probable male Australian Fur Seal on the Hippolyte with 6 females.

Dwarf Minke/Pygmy Right Whale Whale: 1 observed at the surface twice at
fairly close range during our berley stop.  Backswept dorsal fin obvious
but views not good enough to determine species for certain.

Birds (IOC v 5.2 – max at one time in brackets):

Grey-backed Storm Petrel: 2 (1) Both pelagic.

Wandering Albatross: 3 (2) 2 young birds and an older bird in pelagic

Wandering-type Albatross: 1 bird with a fairly white body and mottled, dark
upperwings wings flew by in offshore waters during our trip home.

Southern Royal Albatross: 5 (4) 2 young birds were present for much of our
berley stop and followed us over the shelf as we motored home.  2 older
birds also hung around the boat for a considerable period.  A third older
bird was encountered just outside the shelf where we stopped to observe a
small congregation of birds around some fur seals.

NORTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS: 1 Appeared behind the boat just beyond the
shelf-break on the way home, shortly after we left the seal/bird
congregation.  Followed us at a distance for a brief period.

SOOTY ALBATROSS: 1 Appeared from the south in the early afternoon but kept
its distance and didn’t hang around.   This sighting was initially thought
to be a return visit from the Light-mantled Albatross but photos showed it
to be a Sooty.

LIGHT-MANTLED ALBATROSS: 1 Flew in roughly from the west in the middle of
the day and continued east, giving good views as it passed the stern,
before disappearing to the south.

Black-browed-type Albatross: 1 Fly-by in pelagic waters.

Campbell Albatross: 1 Another fly-by in pelagic waters with some neat
camera work picking up a yellow eye.

Shy Albatross: c. 60 (29) 6 inshore in the morning; 14 offshore in the
morning; remainder pelagic.  Mainly adult with 4 immatures and 2
juveniles.  Presumably all nominate.

SALVIN’S ALBATROSS: 1 An adult circled the boat a few times in pelagic

Buller’s Albatross: 3 (2) 1 offshore in the morning; remainder pelagic.
All adult.

Southern Giant Petrel: 1 A juvenile which stayed with the boat for most of
the morning.

Northern Giant Petrel: 2 (2) 1 juvenile and 1 immature in pelagic waters.

Cape Petrel: 1 in pelagic waters which stayed with us all morning.  Looked
good for *australe*, albeit a somewhat worn individual.

SLENDER-BILLED PRION: 7 (5) Two birds fed in the slick and circled the boat
for most of the day.  2 other birds flew in from the east and disappeared
towards Tasman Island and another three birds joined the slick in the early

Fairy Prion: 4 (2) All pelagic.

Great-winged Petrel: 9 (3) 6 pelagic; 2 offshore in the afternoon; 1 inside
the Hippolyte on the way home.  All looked to be race *gouldi*.

White-headed Petrel: 12 (2) 7 pelagic; 4 offshore in the afternoon; 1 near
the Hippolyte in the afternoon.

Providence Petrel: 1 A fly-by from a single bird not too long after we
pulled up in deep water.

Soft-plumaged Petrel: 1 bird flying south past the stern just after we
passed the Hippolyte in the afternoon.  Unusually close to shore.

GREY PETREL: 3 (1) Three birds, separated by plumage features in
photographs, across four separate encounters.  All of the birds showed
well, often for extended periods and at close quarters, in pelagic waters.

Sooty Shearwater: 1 Pelagic waters.

Common Diving Petrel: 11 (1) 9 offshore in the morning; 2 pelagic.

Black-faced Cormorant: 5 (4) All on the Hippolyte.

Australasian Gannet: 24 (6) All inshore in the morning.

White-faced Heron: 1 on the Hippolyte.

Silver Gull: 2 near the Hippolyte in the morning.

Pacific Gull: 4 (2) 1 adult inshore in the morning, 3 on the Hippolyte.

Kelp Gull: c.80 (c. 40) Inshore and around the Hippolyte in the morning –
mainly adults with 6 juveniles.

Greater Crested Tern: 1 near the Hippolyte in the morning.

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