Here's the trip report for the pelagic that got off Eaglehawk Neck,
Tasmania on Saturday 10 September 2016.
OBSERVERS: Elliot Leach, Mike Honeyman, Karen Dick, Heyn de Kock, Duade
Paton, Bruce Wedderburn, Mona Loofs-Samorzewski, Jenny Ostenfeld, Paul
Elliot, Michael Vaughan, George Vaughan, Els Wakefield and Rohan Clarke
WEATHER: Heavy cloud and light steady rain as we departed. Rain eased
once we were a few miles away from the coast and by midday it had
cleared to 50% cloud to allow a few patches of sunlight. Wind from the
SW to 15 knots in the early AM, increasing to a maximum of about 20
knots beyond the shelf. Cool to cold.
SEA: A bit bumpy inshore with a northerly swell bouncing off the cliffs
of Tasman Peninsula to provide a messy sea as we headed out. Northerly
swell to 2 m inshore, increasing to 2.5-3 m in pelagic waters – a
strange situation as we also had a 1 m southerly swell (going in the
exact opposite direction). A 1 m chop on top of this meant we rocked and
rolled a bit, but fortunately didn’t pitch about too much. A bit of
spray when underway meant one of the side screens had to be lowered. No
one obviously seasick.
ACTIVITY: Sailed at 0710. Headed out past the Hippolytes, passing down
the north-eastern side before proceeding to the shelf break. Quite a lot
of birds in inshore and offshore waters. For example, our first
Grey-faced Petrel was over just 34 fathoms in inshore waters and we had
5 species of albatross and 3 species of pterodroma by the time we
reached the shelf. Crossed the shelf break (100 fathoms) at 0915 before
making our first stop at 43º06’20”S 148º14’37”E over 270 fathoms of
water where we berleyed with fish discards. Because we were drifting
quite quickly we stayed on the one berley trail all day – moving perhaps
4 nautical miles northeast to finish over about 600 fathoms of water.
Heading in at about 1230; a bit earlier than normal owing to the
expected rough ride home. Crossed the shelf at 1245 and docked just
MAMMALS: Fur Seal spp. About 5 hauled out on the Hipploytes and another
at sea but views were distant and they weren’t identified.
Common Dolphin: A group of 3 in the early AM not long after we’d left
BIRDS: 37 species of seabird beyond the breakwater indicated exceptional
diversity for a Tassie pelagic. The clear highlight was the Broad-billed
Prion. Also Grey Petrels, 10 species of albatross and generally large
numbers of seabirds all day.
Southern Royal Albatross: 6 (2). 1 offshore in AM, 5 pelagic. 4 adults,
1 juvenile, 1 immature.
Northern Royal Albatross: 2 (1). Both pelagic. 1 adult and 1 immature.
NZ Wandering Albatross: 18 (8). All pelagic, but at least 2 followed us
back in. One female antipodensis (see image) made quite a few passes of
the boat, the rest looked like gibsoni.
Wandering Albatross (exulens): 7 (3). 5 adults including 2 Snowy birds,
1 bleached juvenile. All pelagic.
Black-browed Albatross: 8 (2). 1 adult, 1 juv offshore, 2 adults, 2 juv,
2 imm pelagic.
Campbell Albatross: 2 – 1 adult and 1 immature pelagic.
Shy Albatross: cauta/steadi 140 (60). 8 adults inshore, 30 adults, 1
immature, 2, juveniles offshore and 6 juveniles, 3 immature and ~90
SALVIN’S ALBATROSS: 2 (1). 1 adult and 1 sub-adult. Both pelagic.
Buller’s Albatross: 8 (3). 2 inshore, 3 offshore, remainder pelagic. All
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross: 3 (1). 1 adult inshore, 1 immature and 1
Northern Giant-Petrel: 15 (8). 2 immature inshore, 1 immature offshore,
10 immature and 2 juvenile pelagic. At least 8 followed us back into
offshore waters in the PM.
Southern Giant-Petrel: 1 juvenile in offshore waters followed us out to
pelagic waters and fed ravenously behind the boat for most of the day.
Wilson’s Storm-Petrel: 1 pelagic.
White-faced Storm-Petrel: 5 (4). All pelagic.
Grey-backed Storm-Petrel: 7 (5). All pelagic.
Common Diving-Petrel: 5 (1). 4 in offshore waters, 1 pelagic.
BROAD-BILLED PRION: 1 made a couple of quick passes of the boat in
SALVIN’S PRION: 1 pelagic soon after we arrived at the berley point. A
couple of other possibles.
Antarctic Prion: 10 (5). Fair numbers around the boat. Several of these
best considered ‘Salvins/Antarctic’ Prions
Slender-billed Prion: 2 (1). Both pelagic.
Fairy Prion: 70 (30). 10 offshore, remainder pelagic.
Sooty Shearwater: 4 (1). 1 offshore in the AM, 2 pelagic and 1 offshore
in the PM.
Short-tailed Shearwater: 6 (2). 2 offshore in the AM, 4 pelagic.
GREY PETREL: 4 (1). All pelagic. Each bird hung around for at least a
White-chinned Petrel: 8 (2). 1 in offshore waters, remainder pelagic.
Cape Petrel: 12 (8). 1 ssp australe, remainder ssp capense. All pelagic,
but a couple followed us back into offshore waters.
Grey-faced Petrel (gouldi): 120 (60). 1 inshore over 35 fathoms was
exceptional, another 4 in offshore waters near the Hyploytes,
remainder pelagic. This is an exceptional count for a Tassie pelagic.
Great-winged Petrel (macroptera): 2 (1). One offshore, 1 pelagic.
WHITE-HEADED PETREL: 5 (2). 1 offshore over 90 fathoms, remainder pelagic.
PROVIDENCE PETREL: 7 (2). All pelagic as ones and twos.
Australasian Gannet: 10 (4). All adult. 8 inshore, 2 offshore.
Black-faced Cormorant: 4 offshore. Also ~10 on the Hippolytes.
Crested Tern: 6 (2). 2 offshore in the AM, 2 pelagic and anther 2
inshore in the AM.
White-fronted Tern: 3 (2). 2 distant terns at the berley point and
another in pelagic waters as we headed back in. Photos show they were
White-fronted Terns but we couldn’t ID them in the field cos they were
Silver Gull: 4 inshore in AM, another 2 inshore in the PM. All adults.
Kelp Gull: 20 (10). 2 adults, 2 juveniles, 1 x 2nd year in inshore
waters, 4 adults offshore. Another 10 or so distant birds inshore in the PM.
Pacific Gull: 2 adults just as we left Pirates Bay in the AM and a 2nd
year bird near the Hippolytes.
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