13 April 2019 Report
This was the first pelagic aboard the Sea Eagle. We were rewarded with perfect weather for our introductory voyage. Wave height was barely noticeable with the wind staying under 10 knots. Sea surface temperatures have dropped since last month’s trip to around the 21-22 deg C range. We saw all of the expected species with the surprise being a Black Petrel. It was our second record for April since 1996.
We motored away on time from Rose Bay aboard the Sea Eagle with fewer the usual complement of passengers. We left the Heads just after 7:30 am onto a flat ocean. A few Silver Gull came along. As expected Wedge-tailed Shearwaters were picked up not long after leaving the Heads.
We continued with the berley drawing the few Shearwater we had managed to attract along with us. It wasn’t long before Flesh-footed Shearwater joined the party. The odd Australasian Gannet were seen ahead of the boat in the distance with their numbers increasing as we drew nearer. Well back behind the boat an immature Black-browed Albatross was spotted making its way southward. Not long after three Black-browed Albatrosses were seen loafing on the water ahead of the boat. We were in a direct path to the birds. Unfortunately before we arrived the birds were flushed by a fast moving game fishing boat only to fly southward away from our path. A Short-tailed Shearwater was also picked out and identified before disappearing as was a Hutton’s Shearwater. At the 12 NM mark we encountered Wilson’s Storm-Petrels. They are typically seen closer to the shelf rather than that close to shore.
Approaching the shelf a pair of Risso’s Dolphin were seen off to starboard. A brief stop allowed some onboard to view the animals albeit from a distance. As we came up onto the shelf we could see many Flesh-footed and Wedge-tailed Shearwater feeding amongst the many fishing boats which were making use of the ideal conditions.
We started a drift which attracted a few more birds. A Crested Tern took the opportunity to perch on the bow rail. Wilson’s Storm Petrel numbers increased as did Flesh-footed Shearwater. A single Grey-faced Petrel was picked out from the Providence Petrels which were now surrounding us. The latter in beautiful plumage. While drifting a Black Petrel managed to sneak up to the boat unnoticed. We remained with the drift for some time before moving. The only Shy Albatross for the day was also seen.
After motoring a little south we spotted a Campbell Albatross slowly stripping the flesh from a discarded Gemfish. It dwarfed the many Shearwater surrounding it hoping to get a piece of the action. The encounter allowed for photographic opportunities which many onboard took advantage of. A second Campbell Albatross was also seen.
(Note that the numbers in parentheses represent the approximate maximum number of that species in view at one time)
|Wilson's Storm Petrel||15||(8)|
|Greater Crested Tern||6||(3)|
The next Sydney pelagic trip is scheduled for Saturday 11th May 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
You can also find us on Facebook and post photos at https://www.facebook.com/sydneypelagics
(Many thanks to Frank Antram, Neil Broekhuizen and Jodi Osgood for photographs).