10 November 2018 Report
Once again the forecast conditions were at the higher end of what we’d prefer with greater than 2m seas and winds above 15 knots predicted. Given the large numbers of Shearwater still moving through the area we were all hoping for something out of the ordinary which this trip delivered. Sea surface temperature was just below 20 deg C.
Unusually for the Harbour leg of the trip no Silver Gull investigated the boat with all birds flying by as if the vessel didn’t exist. Maybe a McDonalds has opened in Vaucluse. We exited the Heads just after 7:30am where we immediately encountered the first of the expected migrating Shearwater, the majority being Wedge-tailed with the remainder mostly made up of Short-tailed along with the odd ‘Fluttons’ flitting between the waves. Like the Gull before them the Shearwater showed zero interest in the berley. Despite this we persisted with leaving the barest of berley trails behind the boat hoping to elicit some interest during the voyage out. Distant Australasian Gannet were also seen on the voyage out as well as a single Pomarine Jaeger.
Around 23 NM we encountered a few dolphins concentrated in a small area along with Wedge-tailed Shearwater. It was assumed the animals were feeding. A couple of the Shearwater peeled off from the group and began to follow the boat. From there interest mushroomed with more birds doing the same. Albatross also began to follow as well.
On reaching the shelf a distant Cookilaria Petrel was spotted making repeated high arcs above the horizon to the west of the boat. Although very far away the bird was thankfully photographed by two observers on board. Arriving at the shelf we set up a drift. The mix of species had grown to include Black-browed, Shy, Wandering and Campbell Albatrosses which were busying themselves feeding on the berley. Grey-faced and Providence Petrel were also making approaches. As more or less expected Wilson’s Storm-Petrel joined the assemblage pitter-pattering across the ocean surface near the boat in search of floating berley particles.
A Black Petrel managed to sneak almost to the boat before being detected. A second bird was to join it not long after. As we turned to return to shore with our gathering of birds a White-chinned Petrel made its way along the boat’s wake up to the stern. Everyone on board had great views of the bird as it repeatedly came close to the boat. Comparisons could also be made between it and the Black Petrel. A real highlight. Our last and only November record for White-chinned Petrel was 18 years ago in 2000 where two birds were seen on the trip.
We motored back to shore arriving in the Harbour just after 4pm.
(Note that the numbers in parentheses represent the approximate maximum number of that species in view at one time)
|Wilson's Storm Petrel||12||(8)|
|Wandering Albatross (Gibson's)||3||(2)|
|Cook's Petrel||1||(1) (probable)|
|Greater Crested Tern||2||(2)|
The next Sydney pelagic trip is scheduled for Saturday 9th February 2019 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
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(Many thanks to Prue Reid and Rob Gordijn for photographs).