22 July 2023 Report

OVERVIEW

15C. Seas: 3-5m. Up to 25 knots. Sea surface temps: 18.8C at shelf. Cloudy with a rain squall encountered at the shelf. Fine otherwise.

What a difference a week makes! The sea conditions were challenging. Almost after leaving the Heads we started to pick up the first of the albatrosses. Silver Gull numbers were lower than last week with the flock trailing the boat leaving us soon after a few Brown Skuas joined us. We had 30-40 albatrosses behind us throughout the journey out. Loads of action behind the boat. Interestingly the majority were Black-browed Albatross. Last week the majority were Indian Yellow-nosed with only two Black-browed Albatrosses in the mix. Thankfully Campbell, Buller's, Indian Yellow-nosed and Shy Albatrosses joined the hungry throng as we motored to the shelf. Around the 12NM mark the first of the Giant-Petrels seen during the day made one close approach to the boat before peeling off only to disappear some distance to the rear. As expected Australasian Gannets were seen throughout the day. Two White-fronted Terns approached the boat as we motored out.

Once over the shelf drop-off we started to pick up the first of the two Pterodroma species. Providence Petrels. As well, an adult Wandering (Gibson's) Albatross added to the albatross mix taking the tally to six. At the shelf we set up a drift. Due to the sea conditions it was decided to leave the motor running.

Just after setting up the drift a single White-faced Storm-Petrel made a close fly-by before heading down the slick and disappearing. This was to be the only Storm-Petrel for the day. Fairy Prions were soon in the slick. Another Wandering (Gibson's) Albatross joined the feeding party. One of the late-arriving Prions sparked the interest of David. A few onboard managed to capture some photographs which confirmed Antarctic Prion. We may have had two birds. Last report of Antarctic Prion on a Sydney pelagic dates back to 2015 where we had the species on the June, July and September trips. This is the 11th record of Antarctic Prion since 1996 aboard a Sydney pelagic.

The boat drifted 1.5NM to the SSW. Around midday it was decided to head back to more protected waters as a few had succumbed to the challenging conditions and a rain squall had reduced visibility. Just as we started to head back we added another couple of Wandering (Gibson's) Albatrosses to the day's tally.

Close to the Heads we joined the whale boats who were trailing a couple of Humpback whales. One breached but the view was unfortunately blocked by looming whale boats. Tail slapping ensued. With the whale action bing lacklustre we decided to look for basking Fur seals under the cliffs.

Despite the challenging sea conditions we had a solid Winter's day on the water.

BIRD LIST

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

White-faced Storm Petrel1
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross6(3)
Buller's Albatross8(4)
Shy Albatross10(4)
Black-browed Albatross42(30)
Campbell Albatross8(4)
Wandering Albatross (Gibson's)4(3)
Northern Giant Petrel1
Southern Giant Petrel1
Giant Petrel spp.1
Grey-faced Petrel8(3)
Providence Petrel16(6)
Fluttering Shearwater1
Fluttering-type Shearwaters2(1)
Fairy Prion13(7)
Antarctic Prion1(1)
Prion sp.1
Australasian Gannet22(10)
Brown Skua11(6)
Silver Gull60(60)
White-fronted Tern2
Greater Crested Tern10(6)

OTHER

Humpback Whale
Long-nosed Fur Seal

The next Sydney pelagic trip is scheduled for Saturday 12th August 2023 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 contact@sydneypelagics.info
You can also find us on Facebook and post photos at https://www.facebook.com/sydneypelagics


(Photographs Roksana Boreli, Steve Mannix and Greg McLachlan).

Roksana Boreli
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Roksana Boreli
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Roksana Boreli
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Steve Mannix
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Greg McLachlan
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Greg McLachlan
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Greg McLachlan
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Greg McLachlan
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Greg McLachlan
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Greg McLachlan
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Greg McLachlan
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Greg McLachlan
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Greg McLachlan
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Greg McLachlan
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Greg McLachlan
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Greg McLachlan
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Greg McLachlan
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Greg McLachlan
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Greg McLachlan
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Greg McLachlan
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Greg McLachlan
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