10 Mar 2018 Report
The morning began with some cloud cover delivering patchy rain which gradually cleared as the day progressed. Sea water temperatures were still high at 24degC. We motored out to Brown's Mountain (approx. 22.5NM ESE off the Heads) arriving there around mid-morning. Good numbers of Shearwater, with the odd Jaeger, trailed the boat while underway with a mix of Petrel, Albatross and cetaceans adding to the excitement. A terrific day on the water.
With a full list of passengers on board the boat motored through the Heads into a gentle ocean swell around 7:40am. We started the berley trail soon after. A few disinterested Silver Gull and Crested Tern were seen flying some distance from the boat. Soon after we came upon the odd Wedge-tailed Shearwater tracking in a southerly direction. As we passed a fishing boat a trail of hungry Shearwater began forming behind the boat. They were to remain a constant throughout the day.
The first of the Pomarine Jaegers were now starting to show some interest as well slowly working their way into the wake well behind the boat. We added Hutton's Shearwater along with Short-tailed Shearwater on the journey out. As we journeyed to Brown's Flesh-footed Shearwater were beginning to join the feeding birds along with more Short-tailed Shearwater. A few on board were fortunate to see Flying fish skimming above the surface as we motored along. They were to make an appearance periodically during the trip. Oceanic Bottlenose Dolphin came in briefly to ride the bow wave but soon left given the speed we were traveling. Risso's Dolphin were also seen with one specimen showing a distinctively notched dorsal fin.
Just on Brown's Steve spotted a distant WHITE-NECKED PETREL which was heading toward the boat. Fortunately it came close enough on its fly-by for all on board to get a good view and a chance to photograph the bird before it arced up revealing its underside. It didn't hang around as it circled further behind the boat before disappearing. A Sooty Shearwater was seen by two on board but couldn't be located again.
Fifteen minutes later we were over Brown's with the first slick working its magic. It seemed every fishing boat present had a number of Shearwater buzzing around each of them. A banded (right, metal band) Black Petrel joined the throng of hungry Shearwater on the water well behind our boat. The bird eventually came to the boat looking for choice bits of berley. A GOULD'S PETREL soon appeared giving exceptional views with repeated close fly-bys as it circled the boat. This was to be the first of seven seen during the trip. A Shy Albatross found the boat soon after. The first of three for the day. A Wilson's Storm Petrel put in a brief appearance too. By now the expected Gray-faced Petrel were wheeling around as well as landing close to the back of the boat.
We continued a slow motor further out taking our flock of hungry birds with us. A lone Wilson's Storm Petrel skipped past. We stopped once again where we added to the count rather than diversity. That soon changed when a Wandering Albatross came in low from the side of the boat for a look and decided to stay with us for the entire return journey. A lovely sight.
Australasian Gannet was added to the list. All immature birds. Nearing the Heads the boat almost ran over a large cetacean which turned out to be a False Killer Whale. The boat entered the Heads after 3:30pm.
(Note that the numbers in parentheses represent the approximate maximum number of that species in view at one time)
|Wilson's Storm Petrel||2||(1)|
|Wandering Albatross (Gibson's)||1||(1)|
|Greater Crested Tern||3||(2)|
|Oceanic Bottlenose Dolphin||10|
|False Killer Whale||1|
The next Sydney pelagic trip is scheduled for Saturday 14th April 2018 departing from Mosman at 6.45am and Rose Bay at 7.00am.
All information on our trips including dates and contact details can be found on the website at sydneypelagics.info
Book at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also find us on Facebook and post photos at https://www.facebook.com/sydneypelagics
(Many thanks to Nick Giles and Simon Ducatez for photographs).