20 August 2017 Report - Eaglehawk Neck

This trip was organised by the Sydney Pelagics birding group for the weekend of August 19 and 20, 2017.


OBSERVERS: Hal Epstein, Karen Dick, Steve Hey, Greg McLachlan, Dean Purcell, Dirk Tomsa, Els Wakefield, Richard Webber, Tom Wilson, Andrew Wood, and Roger McGovern (report compiler).

WEATHER: Clear sunny skies all day with 10 to 15 knot westerly winds providing far more comfortable conditions than yesterday. The air temperature ranged from 3degC in the morning up to 12degC in the mid-afternoon.

SEA: A half to one metre sea inshore to the Hippolytes and increasing to 1 to 1.5 metres at the shelf with only a mild chop. Conditions moderated slowly through the day and the journey back to Pirates Bay was very pleasant.


ACTIVITY: Departed Pirates Bay Wharf at 7.05am and headed out to the Hippolytes before continuing in an easterly direction to the continental shelf break. Started berleying at 9.05am in 350 fathoms and stayed at this location (drifting north east) until heading back at around 1.30pm, arriving back at the dock just after 3.00pm.

MAMMALS: Australian Fur Seals: Larger numbers of Australian Fur Seals (about 20) than yesterday on and around the Hippolytes.
New Zealand Fur Seal: One seal of this species picked out amongst the Australian Fur Seals on the Hippolytes.

BIRDS: We recorded a total of 29 species beyond the entrance to Pirates Bay with the highlights being a Light-mantled Albatross and two Grey Petrel making this yet another memorable pelagic trip. Five species recorded yesterday were not seen today, these being Sooty Albatross, Southern Giant Petrel, Antarctic Prion, White-headed Petrel and Providence Petrel. Five species not seen yesterday were seen today, these being Little Penguin, Northern Royal Albatross, Salvin’s Albatross, Sooty Shearwater and Short-tailed Shearwater.


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

Little Penguin1(1) Inshore
Grey-backed Storm Petrel3(1) All pelagic
Wandering Albatross1(1) Adult bird, pelagic
Antipodean Albatross1(1) Pelagic ssp gibsoni
Southern Royal Albatross2(1) Both pelagic
Northern Royal Albatross1(1) Pelagic
Shy Albatross26(15) About four inshore, five offshore and the rest pelagic
Campbell Albatross1(1) Pelagic
Black-browed Albatross1(1) Pelagic
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross29(25) Raft of twenty-five birds inshore on return journey - rest pelagic
Buller's Albatross2(1) Both pelagic
Salvin’s Albatross1(1) Pelagic - picked up and photographed by Els
Cape Petrel2(1) Both pelagic - spp australe
Northern Giant Petrel4(2) All pelagic
Great-winged Petrel4(1) All pelagic
Grey-faced Petrel2(1) Both pelagic
GREY PETREL2(1) Both pelagic
Soft-plumaged Petrel4(1) All pelagic
Common Diving Petrel33(5) Twenty-eight offshore not far from the Hippolytes and five inshore
Fairy Prion6(1) All pelagic
Slender-billed Prion1(1) Pelagic - identified from photograph
Prion species20All pelagic
Sooty Shearwater1(1) Made several passes off the boat in offshore waters near the Hippolytes
Short-tailed Shearwater5(1) Four pelagic and one offshore
Australasian Gannet12(3) About eight inshore and the rest offshore
Silver Gull24(15) All inshore
Pacific Gull8(2) Two on the Hippolytes and the rest inshore
Kelp Gull65(25) One pelagic and the rest inshore and on the rocks of Pirates Bay
Greater Crested Tern60(55) Three pelagic and the rest inshore – flock of fifty-five on rocks near wharf


Australian Fur Seal20
New Zealand Fur Seal1