BirdLife Victoria - Portland Pelagic, Victoria, 14 June 2015

To: "" <>
Subject: BirdLife Victoria - Portland Pelagic, Victoria, 14 June 2015
From: Chris Lester <>
Date: Mon, 4 Jan 2016 03:25:15 +0000
I am re-posting this trip report because it did not make it successfully
into the Birding-Aus Archives. Given our observations, I think it should be
available in the Archives. This report has been amended slightly from the
original posting to reflect the further analysis of our tern photos.

BirdLife Victoria Pelagic off Portland, Victoria, 14 June 2015

Participants: Scott Baker, Tim Bawden, Robin Bradbear, Paul Dodd, Christian
Doerig, Graham Harkom, Rosemary Lester, Rohan and Alan Mott, Robyn
Slattery, Ruth Woodrow, Chris Lester (organiser).

Crew: Peter and Neville.

Activity: Departed Portland Harbour aboard the Southern Pride at 7.00 and
headed southwest to the shelf. Went straight past the shelf to our first
stop at 38 degrees 41.828 minutes S, 141 degrees 17.303 minutes  E in 106
fathoms of water where we stayed from 9.40 until 11.40. We moved to the
southeast to 38 45.269 S, 141 24.417 E in 240 fathoms and stayed there from
12.10 until 13.20 noon. We moved further east and berleyed at 38 45.135 S,
141 30.582 E in 150 fathoms from 13.50 until 14.30. We then headed back to
the northeast passing Lawrence Rocks, where we had a good look, before
returning to Portland Harbour and docking at 17.15.

Conditions: Initially, it was very overcast (95% cloud cover) and cool.
There was a light wind of less than 5 knots from the NW. There was no sea
and a swell of about 0.5 m. In the middle of the day, the wind increased
only slightly to 5-10 knots but then decreased again quite soon after. The
swell decreased slightly over the course of the day. It stayed overcast and

Summary: Quite good diversity with 22 identified species of seabird
recorded during the trip . The highlights were the amazing number of
excellent views of all of them.


Common Dolphin: small groups on the way in.
Australian Fur Seal: the normal number (around 30) loafing at Lawrence


(Total number of birds with the maximum seen at one time in brackets)

Wilson's Storm-Petrel: 3 (1). Pelagic.
Grey-backed Storm-Petrel: 10 (2). Pelagic.
Black-browed Albatross: 15 (6). Mostly melanophrys but 2 impavada. Pelagic
with a few inshore.
Shy Albatross: 30 (15). All nominate except one SALVIN'S ALBATROSS. Pelagic
with a few inshore.
Yellow-nosed Albatross: 1. Pelagic.
Northern Giant-Petrel: 2 (1). At Lawrence Rocks.
Cape Petrel: 2 (1). Pelagic.
Fairy Prion: 80 (20). A few inshore but mostly pelagic.
Sooty Shearwater: 2 (1). Pelagic.
Short-tailed Shearwater: 5 (3). Pelagic.
Great-winged Petrel: 20 (10). Pelagic.
Common Diving-Petrel: 1. On the way out.
Little Penguin: 10. On the way out.
Australasian Gannet: about 300. A few on the way out and in with most on
Lawrence Rocks.
Black-faced Cormorant: 50. All on or near Lawrence Rocks.
Brown Skua: 1. At Lawrence Rocks.

WHITE-FRONTED TERN (WFT): Up to 5 (1). See below.

ANTARCTIC TERN: At least 3 (3). Commic terns throw up some interesting and
difficult identification challenges, especially for species that you don't
see very often. It gets easier if you have photographs and can investigate
after the trip. Antarctic Terns are at the difficult end and we have spent
lots of time on the many photos taken. There were two flocks each of four
terns at the first berley stop about 20 minutes apart. They approached very
closely and turned out to be a mixture of Antarctics and WFTs. From our
observations and photos, we had three Antarctics in the first lot of four
(two juveniles and a second year bird) and one (the same second year bird
as the one in the first flock) in the second lot, with one definite WFT in
the second lot. There were also three close single bird sightings, one at
the second stop and two at the third stop (which was probably the same
bird). All the close single terns were WFTs. We saw a couple of distant
WFTs in transit and a brief view of perhaps a different Antarctic at the
second stop. So, in summary, we saw a minimum of 3 Antarctics. (This
section has been amended after further review of our photos.)

Crested Tern: 100. A few inshore with nearly all the rest in Portland
Pacific Gull: 2. 1 adult and 1 immature. In Portland Harbour.
Kelp Gull: 20. 5 at Lawrence Rocks and 15 in Portland Harbour. About 50:50
adults and immatures.
Silver Gull: 10 at Lawrence Rocks and a few pelagic with 100 in Portland

There were also 1 Little Pied Cormorant and 2 Australian Pied
Oystercatchers in Portland Harbour and 4 Sooty Oystercatchers and 10
Welcome Swallows 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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