BirdLife Victoria Pelagic off Portland, Victoria, 10 December 2015
Participants: Scott Baker, Tim Bawden, Matthew Crawford, Rob Drummond, Rob
Farnes, Graham and Linda Lee, Rosemary Lester, John McRae, Chris Lester
Crew: Chris and Nick.
Activity: Departed Portland Harbour aboard the Timaru at 7.00 and headed
southwest towards the shelf. Stopped at the shelf for our first stop at 38
degrees 41.161 minutes, 141 degrees 18.113 minutes in 106 fathoms of water
where we stayed from 9.30 until 10.30. We moved to the southwest to our
second stop at 38 45.269, 141 15.885 in 270 fathoms and stayed there from
10.50 until 12.00 noon. Then, we moved to the east to our third stop at 38
45.710, 141 21.381 in 270 fathoms and stayed there between 12.25 and 13.25.
We returned via Lawrence Rocks, arriving at Portland Harbour at 16.25.
Conditions: Initially, it was fine and mostly sunny with only light cloud.
It pretty much stayed that way for the whole day. At the first stop, there
was a light breeze of about 5-8 knots from the northeast with a 1-2 m swell
and no sea. There was a tide of about 8 knots running from the southeast.
At the end of the day, the wind was 4-6 knots from the southeast with the
swell less than 1 m and no sea. The tide had disappeared. So, it was a very
pleasant trip from a weather viewpoint.
Summary: A relatively quiet day with 17 seabird species. The bird
highlights was the WHITE-HEADED PETRELS along with the high numbers of
Great-winged Petrels and the mammal highlight of the day was the pod of
LONG-FINNED PILOT WHALES.
Common Dolphin: small groups on the way out and the way in.
Australian Fur Seal: the normal number (around 30) loafing at Lawrence
LONG-FINNED PILOT WHALE: A pod of 15-20 at the second stop. We had
excellent, medium-distance views for about 30 minutes.
(Total number of birds with the maximum seen at one time in brackets)
Wilson's Storm-Petrel: 1. Pelagic.
White-faced Storm-Petrel: 3 (1). Pelagic.
Wandering Albatross: 1. Race exulans. At the third stop.
Shy Albatross: 30 (15). All nominate. Pelagic with small numbers inshore.
Yellow-nosed Albatross: 3 (1). Pelagic.
Northern Giant-Petrel: 2 (1). Pelagic.
Giant-Petrel spp: 2. On the way out and in.
White-chinned Petrel: 12 (7). All pelagic.
Flesh-footed Shearwater: 3 (1). Pelagic.
Short-tailed Shearwater: 10 (4). On the way out and in. Only a couple at
WHITE-HEADED PETREL: 3 (1). At and near the second stop.
Great-winged Petrel: 200 (30). Surprising numbers. We started seeing good
numbers of them well before we got to the shelf and they passed through all
Common Diving-Petrel: 3 (3). On the way back in.
Australasian Gannet: about 10,000. Mostly on Lawrence Rocks with small
numbers on the way out and in.
Black-faced Cormorant: 60. Mostly at Lawrence Rocks with a few between
there and Portland Harbour.
Crested Tern: 150. Nearly all at or near Lawrence Rocks.
Kelp Gull: 3. 1 at Lawrence Rocks and 2 in Portland Harbour.
Silver Gull: 100. Nearly all at or near Lawrence Rocks.
There were also 1 Little Black Cormorant near Portland Harbour on the way
in and 3 Sooty Oystercatchers and 2 Masked Lapwings at Lawrence Rocks.
For details of future Portland trips, go to the BirdLife Australia web
site at the bottom of the relevant Birdlife Victoria page at
For reports of past BA-Vic and BirdLife Victoria trips from Portland
and Port Fairy, search the Birding-Aus archives for the trip reports
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