BirdLife Victoria Pelagic off Portland, Victoria, 7 February 2016
Participants: Scott Baker, Tim Bawden, Mark Buckby, Iian Denham, Paul Dodd,
Rob Farnes, Tracey-Ann Hooley, Brian Johnston, Rosemary Lester, Wendy
McWilliams, Ruth Woodrow, Chris Lester (organiser).
Crew: Kevin and Nick.
Activity: Departed Portland Harbour aboard the Timaru at 7.05 and headed
southwest towards the shelf. Stopped quite a bit past the shelf for our
first stop at 38 degrees 44.874 minutes, 141 degrees 22.117 minutes in 230
fathoms of water where we stayed from 9.40 until 10.50. We moved to the
west to our second stop at 38 42.881, 141 16.638 in 500 fathoms and stayed
there from 11.20 until 12.25. Then, we moved to the east to our third stop
at 38 41.335, 141 19.109 in 150 fathoms and stayed there between 12.40 and
13.50. We returned via Lawrence Rocks, arriving at Portland Harbour at
Conditions: Initially, it was fine and mostly sunny with pretty much no
cloud at all. It stayed that way for the whole day with only some light
cloud appearing later. At the first stop, there was a light breeze of about
8 knots from the southwest with a swell of about 0.5 m and a sea of 0.5 m
as well. This was a lot less than forecast. At the end of the day, the wind
was still about 8 knots from the south but the swell and the sea had gone
down a bit. So, for a second month in a row, it was a very pleasant trip
from a weather viewpoint.
Summary: A modest day with 20 seabird species. There were no significant
bird highlights and the mammal highlight of the day was the small pod of
LONG-FINNED PILOT WHALES.
LONG-FINNED PILOT WHALE: A pod of 4-5 at the first stop. We had excellent,
reasonably close views for about 10 minutes.
Inshore Bottle-nosed Dolphin: 1 on the way out.
Common Dolphin: very small groups on the way out.
Australian Fur Seal: the normal number (around 20) loafing at Lawrence
(Total number of birds with the maximum seen at one time in brackets)
White-faced Storm-Petrel: 5 (2). Pelagic.
Black-browed Albatross: 3 (1).
Shy Albatross: 50 (20). All nominate. Pelagic with very small numbers
Yellow-nosed Albatross: 15 (5). Pelagic.
Buller's Albatross: 1. Pelagic.
Fairy Prion: 1. Pelagic.
White-chinned Petrel: 2 (1). All pelagic.
Flesh-footed Shearwater: 10 (6). Pelagic.
Sooty Shearwater: 4 (1).
Short-tailed Shearwater: 50 (20). On the way out and in. Quite a few at the
Fluttering Shearwater: 4 (2). On the way out.
Hutton's Shearwater: 1. On the way in.
Great-winged Petrel: 200 (50). Large numbers. Pelagic.
Little Penguin: 3 (1). On the way back in.
Australasian Gannet: Several thousand, mostly on Lawrence Rocks with small
numbers on the way out and in and 6 pelagic.
Black-faced Cormorant: 30. Mostly at Lawrence Rocks with a few between
there and Portland Harbour.
Crested Tern: 200. Nearly all at or near Lawrence Rocks with 4 pelagic.
Pacific Gull: 2 at Lawrence Rocks.
Kelp Gull: 2 at Lawrence Rocks.
Silver Gull: 100. Nearly all at or near Lawrence Rocks with a few between
there and Portland Harbour and a few in the Harbour itself.
There were also 3 Musk Ducks and 3 Little Pied Cormorants in Portland
Harbour on the way in and 5 Chestnut Teal, 1 Pied Cormorant, 1 White-faced
Heron, 2 Sooty Oystercatchers and a small flock of Welcome Swallows at
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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