Saturday 9 July 2011 REPORT

The preceding week saw a big southerly swell and gale-force south-westerly to westerly winds bringing cold condition to NSW. These winds were not expected to bring seabirds to the NSW coast but they helped to dampen the swell. During the day the swell was a manageable 1-2 m S, the seas were 1-3 m W and there was a strong southward current. The sea state was 4-5 all day. Sea temperatures over the shelf-break were 18-19 degrees C. Skies were clear. The day was a little rough, windy and cool, with quite a bit of spray. The boat was full

Some of us feared the westerly winds may have pushed seabirds away from the NSW coast, but it was not the case. The first Australasian Gannets, Black-browed Albatrosses and Fluttering Shearwater of the day were encountered just outside Sydney Heads. We stopped off the Heads for some Black-broweds feeding on a cuttlefish and began berleying. Numbers of albatross quickly grew behind the boat and we began dragging them out to the shelf with us. We stopped a few kilometres offshore for Humpback Whales and then continued to the shelf break, berleying the whole way. Roughly 100 albatrosses followed us from inshore to the shelf-break, and firstly prions then Pterodromas started gathering. We stopped about 40 km out and south of Brown’s Mountain, at the bottom of the shelf break. Here we set a berley slick that set the prions in a frenzy. As the prions came closer a Slender-billed Prion was discovered and eventually gave repeated close views. Photos revealed there were actually two Slender-billeds. A tiny Grey-backed Storm-petrel appeared out the back of the prions and was eventually lured in close by the slick. On the way back we stopped inshore again for some breaching Humpbacks


Wandering Albatross (gibsoni) 3 (1)
Black-browed Albatross (melanophris) 100 (50)
Black-browed Albatross (impavida) 3 (1)
Buller’s Albatross 6 (3)
Shy Albatross (cauta) 10 (5)
Yellow-nosed Albatross (bassi) 20 (10)
Southern Giant Petrel 1
Northern Giant Petrel 1
Fairy Prion 60 (40)
Slender-billed Prion 2
Great-winged Petrel (macroptera) 10 (5)
Great-winged Petrel (goulidi) 1
Providence Petrel 8 (4)
Short-tailed Shearwater 1
Wedge-tailed Shearwater 1
Fluttering Shearwater 50 (10)
Grey-backed Storm-Petrel 1
Australasian Gannet 50 (10)
Brown Skua 3 (2)
Silver Gull 40 (3)
Crested Tern 10 (5)


Humpback Whale 10 (6)