Saturday 13 August 2011 REPORT

This trip had 24 pax plus 4 crew. Conditions were fairly mild with a manageable south-easterly swell up to 1.5 m, a southerly sea less than 1 m and a sea state of 3-4. It was mostly overcast with light rain during much of the afternoon. Sea temperatures over the shelf-break were 17-18 degrees C, the coldest yet this year. The preceding week saw relatively calm conditions, but moderate southerly winds on Friday. It did not seem quite like the conditions we needed to get five species of prion

Before leaving Sydney Heads we saw two Black-browed Albatrosses in the harbour. Passing through the Heads at about 7:30, we burleyed almost continuously to the shelf break and beyond, hoping to drag as many birds with us as possible. We failed to attract albatrosses immediately at the Heads, but by 8:00 there were about 30 following, along with Crested Terns and a Brown Skua. Humpback Whales were seen in the distance but we did not divert. Just before 9:00 an adult Buller’s Albatross joined the followers, about 13 NM ESE in 160 m of water. We reached the shelf break at about 9:45 and set a slick for prions. Only fairies attended. We then headed to Brown’s Mountain (34 02’, 151 40’) and set another slick. A couple of Australian? Fur Seals and a dispersed pod of Oceanic Bottle-nosed Dolphins were there. A lone Providence Petrel, some Cape Petrels and a Grey-backed Storm-Petrel attended the slick. The Grey-backed was the third for NSW and second for Sydney pelagics this winter. To avoid rain we moved east (about 26 nm offshore) and set two more slicks (34 03’ 151 41’ and 34 02’ 151 45’), but prions were in short supply, with only about 10 Fairies around. Albatross numbers continued to build and turn over. Wandering albatross of two forms, mostly exulans and some gibsoni, were viewed together. A couple of grey-headed juvenile albatrosses from the “shy” complex were interesting. Whilst it was announced earlier that one or more of these might be Salvin’s Albatross, it now appears that there were at least three fresh juvenile White-capped Albatross (steadi) from NZ. On the way in we stopped at the shelf break and set a fifth slick, but still could not find more than a handful of Fairy Prions. We did, however, get great views of a seal that seems to be a New Zealand Fur Seal. At 4 nm outside the heads we paused to watch two Humpback Whales for a few sequences


Wandering Albatross (exulans) 3 (1)
Wandering Albatross (gibsoni) 3 (1)
Black-browed Albatross (melanophris) 100 (50)
Black-browed Albatross (impavida) 2 (1)
Buller’s Albatross 1
Shy Albatross (cauta) 5 (2)
Shy Albatross (steadi) 3
Yellow-nosed Albatross (bassi) 20 (10)
Cape Petrel 4
Fairy Prion 40 (20)
Providence Petrel 5 (1)
Wedge-tailed Shearwater 1
Fluttering Shearwater 30 (10)
Grey-backed Storm-Petrel 1
Australasian Gannet 50 (10)
Brown Skua 8 (4)
Silver Gull 40 (3)
Crested Tern 20 (15)


Humpback Whale 4 (2)
Oceanic Bottle-nosed Dolphin 50
Australian? Fur Seal 2
New Zealand? Fur Seal 1
Mako? Shark