Here is the report for how the BirdLife Victoria Portland Pelagics went for
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
THE BIRDLIFE VICTORIA PELAGIC FROM PORTLAND IN 2013 and 2014
By Chris Lester
VICTORIAN PELAGIC BIRDING IN 2013 and 2014
Trips in 2013 and 2014 – two fair years
In both 2013 and 2014, five boat trips were held, which is just above our
expected average of four when we are scheduling only one trip a month
(rather than having a second back-up day). We did see some nice species in
both years but the diversity of species and numbers of birds were down on
other years. We had several quite quiet trips for birds but the mammals
provided some highlights on a couple of these trips.
2013 and 2014 rarities
The 2013 and 2014 highlights were:
February 2013 – a White-headed Petrel and a Long-tailed Jaeger.
April – 1 Buller’s Albatross.
May – a Sooty Albatross, Northern Royal Albatross and an Antarctic Prion.
October – a White-chinned Petrel and 10 Flesh-footed Shearwaters.
November – a Wandering Albatross (race exulans).
February 2014 – nothing exciting with a Sooty and 100 Flesh-footed
Shearwaters and a White-chinned Petrel being the “highlights”.
April – a Wandering Albatross (race exulans).
June – a Soft-plumaged Petrel and 3 Antarctic Prions.
September – 2 Gould’s Petrels.
December – 2 Southern Royal Albatrosses.
2013 and 2014 seasonal variation
The regular species on our summer trips were White-chinned Petrel,
Flesh-footed and Sooty Shearwaters, White-faced and Grey-backed
Storm-Petrels, Buller’s Albatross and Arctic Jaeger. Autumn regulars were
Southern Giant-Petrel, White-chinned Petrel, Sooty, Flesh-footed and
Hutton’s Shearwaters, Buller’s Albatross, White-faced and Grey-backed
Storm-Petrels, Arctic Jaeger, Southern Skua and White-fronted Tern.
In winter, the regulars were Northern Giant-Petrel, Cape and White-chinned
Petrels, Sooty Shearwater, Grey-backed Storm-Petrel and Southern Skua.
Regular spring birds were Northern and Southern Giant-Petrels, Cape and
White-chinned Petrels, Flesh-footed, Sooty and Hutton’s Shearwaters,
White-faced and Grey-backed Storm-Petrels, Arctic Jaeger and White-fronted
In this seasonal context, “regular” and “common” only means that the
species were observed in the relevant season. It does not mean that the
number of individuals was high. In fact, the number may be very low as,
for example, with the listings of Wandering Albatross, Sooty Shearwater and
White-fronted Tern, where usually only one or two birds are observed on
The common pelagic bird species
>From Portland, the common birds seen on nearly all trips are Little
Penguin, Fairy Prion, Great-winged Petrel, Wilson’s Storm-Petrel,
Short-tailed and Fluttering Shearwaters, Shy, Black-browed, Yellow-nosed
and Wandering Albatrosses, Australasian Gannet, Black-faced Cormorant,
Silver, Pacific and Kelp Gulls and Crested Tern.
There were no mammal highlights in 2013, except the normal Common Dolphins
at sea and the Australian Fur Seals on Lawrence Rocks.
But, it was great for cetaceans during 2014. The highlights were a Fin
Whale in February, a pod of 4 or 5 Killer Whales in September and a pod of
2 or 3 Blue Whales in December. As well, we saw the normal Common Dolphins
at sea and the Australian Fur Seals on Lawrence Rocks on most outings.
Strangely, we did not record Bottle-nosed Dolphins on any trips in 2013 but
we did see some in 2014.
A BIRDLIFE AUSTRALIA OFFICIAL ACTIVITY
The Victorian Pelagic from Portland is an official BirdLife Australia
outing. This group supports our trip in many ways and has our thanks.
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