Here's the trip report for the pelagic that got off Portland, Victoria
BIRDLIFE AUSTRALIA PELAGIC TRIP OFF PORTLAND, VIC
Sunday 10 January 2016
OBSERVERS: Tim Bawden, Peter Horridge, Bob King, Rob Farnes, Mike
Honeyman, Steve Clark, Jenny Clark, Jane Hayes, Rosemary Lester, Chris
Lester (Organiser) & Rohan Clarke (report compiler)
WEATHER: Mostly clear with hazy cloud on the horizon in the AM, building
slowly through the day to become overcast on the return leg; good light
for photography until the run for home. Wind from the east through most
of the day: initially 10-15 knots but dropping back to almost calm in
the PM. Warm (some wore shorts and didn’t appear hypothermic!)
SEA: A 2-3 m long interval SW swell, somewhat lumpy, throughout much of
the day, moderating to 1.5-2 m in the PM. A 0.5-1 m sea from the east
also moderated in the PM.
ACTIVITY: Sailed at 0700. Headed directly to the shelf break on the
outer edge of ‘The Horseshoe’. Fairly quiet on the way out with the
first concentration of birds as we crossed the shelf at 0905. Our first
stop was at 38º42.66’S 141º22.35'E over 250 fathoms of water where we
berleyed with shark liver and fish frames. Two further stops were made;
one over 400-500 fathoms and the other back on the shelf to the east of
our first stop. An active trawler that passed near to us on two
occasions probably had something to do with the high count of Shy
Albatross. Headed back in at 1400. We cruised the eastern shore of
Laurence Rocks for the Aust Gannet colony spectacle before docking at 1640.
Common Dolphin: 20 inshore in the AM, this or another pod of ~15 inshore
in the PM.
Long-flippered Pilot Whale: 5+ as a dispersed group passed by at the
first berley point beyond the shelf.
Australian Fur Seals: about 25 at Laurence Rocks (none at sea).
NZ Fur Seal: at least one with the Australian Fur Seals at Laurence Rocks.
Australian Sea Lion: one adult female hauled out on a platform
overlooking the Australian Fur Seals (a rare mammal in Victoria).
BIRDS: 19 species of seabird beyond the breakwater indicated below
average diversity. Highlights were the good numbers of albatross and
close approaches by most species present.
White-faced Storm-Petrel: 20 (10). 1 offshore, remainder pelagic.
New Zealand Wandering Albatross: 6 pelagic. At least 4 were gibsoni. The
ID of 1 near-juvenile and one adult went begging.
Black-browed Albatross: 2 (2). Both immature, beyond the shelf.
Campbell Albatross: 2 (1). Different birds on plumage/bare parts with
one at each berley point.
Shy Albatross: all cauta/steadi 200 (150). 10 (9 Ad, 1 Juv) inshore, 7
(all Ad) offshore, remainder pelagic (of which 2 Imm, 1 Juv remainder Ad).
Yellow-nosed Albatross: 5 (2). All pelagic. 1 Juv, 1 immature, remainder
Fairy Prion: 10 (5). 1 offshore, remainder pelagic.
Short-tailed Shearwater: 180 (50). 80 inshore, 25 offshore, remainder
pelagic including a handful feeding at the back of the boat.
Sooty Shearwater: 3 pelagic.
Fluttering Shearwater: 5 (2). 1 offshore in the AM, another 3 offshore
in the PM and 1 pelagic. Also at least 3 ‘Fluttons’ (2 offshore, 1
pelagic) that remained unidentified.
White-chinned Petrel: 30 (12). 1 offshore in the AM, remainder pelagic,
though a couple followed us back into offshore waters in the PM.
Great-winged Petrel: all gouldii 15 (10). All pelagic.
Little Penguin: 1 offshore in the PM
Australasian Gannet: 100 (25). 25 inshore in the AM, 2 offshore and 2
pelagic, remainder inshore in the PM. Also many thousands on and around
the breeding colony at Laurence Rocks. 1 immature flushed off the water
near Laurence Rocks in the PM otherwise all adult.
Black-faced Cormorant: 2 inshore in the AM. About 20 on Laurence Rocks.
Crested Tern: 13 (4). 6 inshore, 4 offshore, 3 pelagic.
Silver Gull: 2 inshore in AM. About 300 on Laurence Rocks.
Kelp Gull: 1 adult inshore in the AM. 1 adult on Laurence Rocks in the PM.
Pacific Gull: 1 adult on Laurence Rocks in the PM.
On or around Laurence Rocks we also had 2 Forest Ravens, 5 Chestnut
Teal, 1 Sooty Oystercatcher and a White-faced Heron.
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