9 May 2015 Report
Varying moderate Westerly winds (15-20kts) all day and a sea surface temperature of over 20 deg C were forecast. Otherwise fine conditions with a bit of winter chill. These were indeed what were encountered.
We departed Sydney Heads at 7.30am and headed out to the waters of the continental shelf in seas of 0.5m on top of a 1.5 to 2.0m swell – very comfortable conditions whilst still in the lee of the Sydney coastline. Once further offshore the wind turned more SSW which made conditions slightly uncomfortable . We arrived at the seamount known as Mt Woolnough or Brown’s Mountain at around 10am and drifted until after 12 noon .Despite the strong sw wind we drifted south which was indicative of a very strong southerly flowing current ( warm water coming from the north). We departed the shelf at around 12.15 pm and arrived back at Rose Bay at 3.00pm.
Unfortunately no Oyster catchers were found either at Shark Island or Chowder head either on the outbound or return journey. We will have to assume the South island Kiwi has taken off for home.
No birds were evident when passing through the heads. However once about 2 Nm offshore the first of the albatrosses were sighted and once a burley trail was established many of these birds followed us all the way offshore.
Shearwater numbers ,as expected, were only small. Numbers of Campbell Island Black brows were probably as many as we had ever experienced during a Sydney pelagic. Crested terns & silver gulls also accompanied the various albatrosses black brow Campbell island Indian Yellow nose Shy & Bullers.
One Bullers and one Shy albatross were observed to have broken legs. A number of Australasian gannets were also seen making their way out to sea.
Once at the sea mount the albatrosses continued to come in and feed voraciously on the fat and it was not too long before the wilson storm petrels arrived in ever increasing numbers plus a couple of white faced storm petrels and a few fairy prions that took a fancy to the small pieces of fish emanating from the berley pot. Great Wing & Providence petrels seemed also keen on this food source.
Good viewing was had by all of the albatross species right next to the boat and of the two Wanderers that did a fly by when investigating whether to pay a visit. We did not berley on the return journey as the sea conditions & sea spray were a bit too trying.
Thanks to all that came on the trip. We hope you can make it again soon. Do post your pictures/comments on the facebook page. I have taken the opportunity to attach a few of mine taken during a pause in berleying duties.
(Note that the numbers in parentheses represent the approximate maximum number of that species in view at one time)
|Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross||10||(5)|
|Wilson’s Storm Petrel||50||(15)|
|White-faced Storm Petrel||2||(1)|
|Greater Crested Tern||5||(3)|
The next Sydney pelagic trip is scheduled for Saturday 13 June, 2015 departing from Mosman at 6.45am and from Rose Bay at 7.00am. Please book early to assist our planning and to avoid missing a spot – the MV Avalon carries a maximum number of 23 so places are a little limited. June July is cetacean time so our old friends the humpback’s migration will be in full swing . All details of our trips and contact details are in the website at http://www.sydneypelagics.info and you can also find us on Facebook as well as post photos: https://www.facebook.com/sydneypelagics
(The photographs attached were taken by Hal Epstein, Edwin Vella, Nevil Lazarus and Greg McLachlan)