8 September 2018 Report
Wind conditions were good for seabirding with light to moderate easterlies during the day. It was overcast with an occasional shower for the whole day and sea water temperature was 17 deg C. We left Rose Bay ~0715 with 21 aboard MV Avalon, due to a ~3 m swell it took 4 hours to get out to the shelf. At the shelf, the swell eased a little to an estimated 2 m. After a long 2 hr single drift we turned, to arrive back at Rose Bay 1500.
We left the Heads without any birds following the boat, immediately after leaving the Heads we got 2 Black-browed Albatrosses. During the first section of the trip out to the shelf no birds followed the boat. On the way we got good numbers (20, conservative estimate) of Prions sp., most likely all Fairy, a flock 5 of White-fronted and 1 Greater Crested Tern, and small numbers (20 each species, conservative estimate) of Wedge-tailed and Hutton's Shearwaters. A few Humpbacks were seen breaching, and we came across a small (5) pod of Common Dolphins. About halfway through the trip out to the shelf, the first (8) Albatrosses started following the boat, predominantly Shy-type Albatrosses, mostly juvenile White-capped. In among these were a single Indian Yellow-nosed and 2 Black-browed Albatrosses. More distant, a single Brown Skua and a single Providence Petrel were seen, along with the occasional Australasian Gannet.
Upon arrival at the shelf, we started a single long drift lasting for about 2 hrs. We attracted a reasonable sized flock of birds, that were somewhat interested in the berley. The core feeding flock consisted of 50 Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, 20 Shy Albatrosses, 6 Black-browed Albatrosses, 1 Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross and 10 Fairy Prions (1 possible Antarctic Prion, unconfirmed). The Shy-type Albatrosses were 70/30% freshly fledged/older birds, the fledglings being White-capped Albatrosses from New Zealand, given the time of year. A few small flocks of Hutton's Shearwaters, several Australasian Gannets and a few Crested Tern passed by. On the pterodroma-front the day was quiet with only a single Providence Petrel passing by and 2 Grey-faced Petrels occasionally in amongst the Wedge-tailed Shearwaters. Twice for a short while a Brown Skua hung around. Highlights of the drift were 2 Wandering-type Albatrosses circling around (2 different individuals, both Gibsonii), and excellent views of 2 White-faced Storm-Petrels, a species which is often only seen in the distance down the slick. Cetacean-wise we saw again a small pod (4) of Common Dolphins, and several breaching Humpbacks in the distance.
As the trip out to the shelf had taken long due to the swell, we had to keep it at one single long drift before motoring back towards shore. Continuing chumming turned out to be a great move, as shortly after heading back, we picked up a single Buller's Albatross. Several of the Albatrosses followed us back in, with a single individual Shy Albatross (recognisable by its injured leg) following us the whole day. During the last section of trip back we finally picked up a small flock of Silver Gulls, which followed us back in past the Heads.
Overall it was a pleasant day, with somewhat rough seas, reasonable numbers of birds actively feeding near the boat, with no surprise species turning up.
(Note that the numbers in parentheses represent the approximate maximum number of that species in view at one time)
|White-faced Storm Petrel||2||(2)|
|Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross||1||(1)|
|Wandering Albatross (Gibson's)||2||(2)|
|Greater Crested Tern||1||(1)|
|Inshore Bottlenose Dolphin||9|
The next Sydney pelagic trip is scheduled for Saturday 13th October 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 Prue Reid for photographs).