Here's the first of the two trip reports from the BirdLife Aust pelagic
trips that ran off Eaglehawk Neck, Tasmania this weekend [also posted to
the 'Seabirds and Pelagics Australia' Facebook page with pictures]
Saturday 16 July 2016
OBSERVERS: Tim Bawden, Todd Burrows, Mark Carey, Angus McNab, Dean
Ingwersen, Paul Dodd, Ruth Woodrow, Elliot Leach, Paul Newman, Bernie
O’Keefe, Glen Pacey, Else Wakefield and Rohan Clarke (report compiler)
WEATHER: Clear and sunny with just 5-10% cloud through the day. Nice
soft winter light for photography. Wind from the NW to 10 knots in the
early AM becoming light and variable through the remainder of the
morning and changing to a 10 knot westerly breeze from about midday.
Cool to mild (not cold!) which is exceptional for a mid-winter pelagic
SEA: Pretty flat inshore with a 0.5 m sea and little else out to the
Hippolytes. A southerly swell to 2.5 m in offshore and pelagic waters.
We pitched around a little at the first berley point as a tidal current
meant the waves ‘sat up’ a bit but after this is was a generally
pleasant sea on a rather mild swell. No spray to speak of for the entire
day (and no one obviously seasick).
ACTIVITY: Sailed at 0730. Headed out past the Hippolytes, passing down
the eastern side to view the fur seals and resting birds before
proceeding to the shelf break. Relatively few birds on the way out
though good numbers of Common Diving Petrels in offshore waters provided
an early new bird for some. Crossed the shelf break (100 fathoms) at
0915 before making our first stop at 43º11’03”S 148º15’37”E over 300
fathoms of water where we berleyed with fish discards. Two further stops
were made; one over 850 fathoms and the other back on the shelf a little
east of our first stop. We made a brief stop for a Humpback Whale that
crossed our path before heading back in at 1330 to dock at 1500.
NZ Fur Seal: about 25 on Hippolytes.
Australian Fur Seal: at least 1 sub-adult on the Hippolytes and another
in the harbour on our return.
Humpback Whale: 1 just beyond the shelf in the PM travelling in a
Dolphin spp: two sightings of 1 to 2 animals. The first in inshore
waters about 3 miles from Pirates Bay and then another near the
Hippolytes. In both instances views were too brief to allow ID. Common
Dolphins were the likely contender but they didn’t really show themselves.
BIRDS: 24 species of seabird beyond the breakwater indicated slightly
below average diversity. Highlights were showy Grey Petrel,
Soft-plumaged Petrel and White-headed Petrel and an immature Salvin’s
Grey-backed Storm-Petrel: 6 (2). All pelagic.
Southern Royal Albatross: 6 (4). All pelagic. 5 ‘adults’, one younger
New Zealand Wandering Albatross: 1 pelagic. Most probably an adult male.
Black-browed Albatross: 5 (2). 4 adults pelagic, 1 juvenile offshore in
Shy Albatross: all cauta/steadi 60 (25). 2 Ad inshore, 2 Ad offshore, 2
juveniles, 2 immature and ~52 Ad pelagic.
SALVINS ALBATROSS: 1 immature pelagic at the first berley point.
Buller’s Albatross: 20 (6). 3 offshore, remainder pelagic. All adult.
Northern Giant-Petrel: 3 (2). 1 offshore in the PM, the others pelagic.
Common Diving-Petrel: 65 (20)
Fairy Prion: 3 (2). All pelagic.
Slender-billed Prion: 4 (2). All pelagic.
Antarctic Prion: 1 pelagic.
Sooty Shearwater: 3 (1). 2 pelagic, 1 offshore in the PM.
Cape Petrel: 3 (2). All pelagic, all ssp capense.
GREY PETREL: 2 (2). Both pelagic at the first berley point (see pic)
Grey-faced Petrel (gouldi): 10 (3). All pelagic.
WHITE-HEADED PETREL: 2 (1). Both pelagic.
SOFT-PLUMAGED PETREL: 1 pelagic. A showy bird that circled the boat for
about 10 mins soon after arriving at the first berley point.
Australasian Gannet: 4 (2). All adult, all inshore.
Black-faced Cormorant: 1 inshore, 4 offshore. Also ~15 on the Hippolytes.
Crested Tern: 13 (2). 3 inshore, 2 offshore, 8 pelagic.
Silver Gull: 4 inshore in AM.
Kelp Gull: 17 (5). 10 adults, 3 x juvenile, 2 x 2nd year in inshore
waters, 1 adult and 1 juvenile offshore, 1 adult pelagic.
Pacific Gull: 1 adult on the Hippolytes.
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