8 Sep 2012 Report


After last month’s cancellation due to strong westerly winds, this time the 22 participants, including visitors from the USA, Germany, Denmark, Finland, UK and some local regulars, had a beautiful day on the water aboard the Halicat.Despite the again prevailing westerly winds, we had a good number of seabirds (see list below).For most of the day we had W to WSW winds around 20 kts, the swell was up to 3 m. The water temperature near the shore was 15.8°C and near the shelf break 16.8°C. The main berley point was 25 NM (55 km) off Sydney south of Brown’s Mountain at 200+ fathoms (400 m water depth). One of the highlights was already seen from shore before the Halicat showed up: A Pink-eared Duck on salt water in Rose Bay! True pelagic highlights were 5 White-faced Storm-petrels and a good number of Wandering-type Albatross. Non-avian highlights were two Eagle Rays ‘flying’ past the boat, an enormous Ocean Sunfish, four Humpback Whales and two pods of Short-beaked Common Dolphins.


(Note that the numbers in parentheses represent the approximate maximum number of that species in view at one time)

Pink-eared Duck: 1 (Rose Bay)
White-faced Storm-petrel: 5 (3 together)
Wandering Albatross: 10+ (most were Gibson’s,one possible exulans)
Black-browed Albatross: 50+
Campbell Albatross: 2 (1 1st/2nd year with amber eye; 1 2nd/3rd year with pale eye)
Shy Albatross: 10+ (including at least 3 adult cauta with yellow base of the culminicorn and at least 3 very fresh juveniles with very dark grey heads, likely steadi)
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross: 15
Southern Giant-petrel: 2 (1st year)
Northern Giant-petrel: 3 (1 1st year, 2 2nd year)
Wedge-tailed Shearwater: many
Fluttering Shearwater: 50+
Hutton’s Shearwater: 10+
Great-winged Petrel: 4 (not clear if macroptera or gouldii)
Providence Petrel: 30
Australasian Gannet: 4
Pied Cormorant: 2 (Rose Bay)
Brown Skua: 3
White-fronted Tern: 1
Crested Tern: many
Silver Gull: many


Mammals: Humpback
Whale: 4
Common Dolphin: 10+

Sunfish Mola spec. (likely Ocean Sunfish Mola mola): 1 (large)
Eagle Ray spec: 2