Eaglehawk Neck pelagic trip report 1st Sep 2019

Eaglehawk Neck Pelagic Trip Report – 1st September 2019


Neil Broekhuizen, Svenja Halfter, JJ Harrison, Mona Loofs-Samorzewski, Andi Magnusson, Ramit Singal, John, Shirley, Peter and Kimberley Tongue, Peter Vaughan, Els Wakefield. (Paul Brooks, the trip organiser, was unable to attend, with Mona managing the trip on the day and compiling the report.)


The Pauletta, skippered by John Males, with deckhand Adam Mackintosh.


The northerly wind forecast for the day kept our hopes low but we were pleasantly surprised with a smorgasbord of rather nice Pterodroma petrels. Good numbers of Providence, Soft-plumaged and Great-winged Petrel, along with over 40 Grey-faced and stand-out numbers of White-headed Petrel: we counted 35 all coming past from the north. Although not a record for an Eaglehawk pelagic, this is only the 3rd time such high numbers have been recorded in eBird, with the record being over 100 seen in September 2013 and 38 counted in May 2018. A single Antarctic Prion gave several brief but reasonably close views, allowing enough photos to be taken to clinch the ID. A few nice albatross rounded out the day, diversity being a respectable 25 species.


We left port at 0707 and headed directly south to Cheverton Rock and the Hippolytes, passing them at 0805 hours and heading ENE to the shelf break. We pulled up at our first berley point at 0917 hours over 240 fathoms, and drifted south around 3.5 km to 293 fathoms. At 1051 hrs we headed NE to do our second berley at 1120 hrs over 620 fathoms, again drifting south for around 2.8 km before calling it a day at 1250 hrs and heading directly home to dock at port at 1455 hrs.


The day started fairly grey, with thin, high cloud, small amounts of blue sky and the NNW wind below 5 kn. Inshore, waves were low at 0.5 m, increasing up to 1 m as we passed the Hippolytes and headed offshore. As we neared the edge of the shelf, the wind picked up to 10-15 kn, surprisingly cold and persisting from the NNW. The cloud cleared slightly and we saw a bit of blue sky. At our two berley points we had a 0.5 m confused swell with 0.5 – 1 m choppy waves on top. The wind dropped in and out, but never getting up more than about 10-15 kn. When in pelagic waters it became gradually cloudier both to the north and down south, with rain in the distance around Maria Island. As we headed home at 1250 hrs the weather caught up with us and it was grey and spitting on our return. Pelagic water temperature was 12°C. One seasick.



Australian/NZ Fur Seal: 19 (6) on and around the Hippolytes.

Bottlenose Dolphin: 2 just before the Hippolytes.


Birds (IOC v 8.1 – max at one time in brackets):

Grey-backed Storm Petrel: 3 (2) pelagic.

White-faced Storm Petrel: 2 (2) pelagic.

Wandering Albatross: 1 pelagic.

Antipodean Albatross: 5 (2) gibsoni pelagic.

Southern Royal Albatross: 2 pelagic.


Black-browed Albatross: 6 (1): 1 offshore, 5 pelagic (4 adult, 1 older immature, 1 juvenile).

Campbell Albatross: 2 (1): pelagic (1 adult, 1 immature).

Shy Albatross: 25 (16): 1 inshore, 14 offshore, the remainder pelagic.

Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross: 4 (1): 2 offshore, 2 pelagic (1 immature).

Buller’s Albatross: 2 (1): 1 offshore, 1 pelagic.

Northern Giant Petrel: 3 (1): 1 offshore, 2 pelagic (1 quite pale adult).

Cape Petrel: 1 capense pelagic.


Fairy Prion: 34 (14) pelagic.

Grey-faced Petrel: 41 (15): 4 offshore, the rest pelagic.

Great-winged Petrel: 7 (2) pelagic

WHITE-HEADED PETREL: 35 (3): started with 1 offshore near the edge of the shelf, then a steady stream of 1-3 birds moving south at both berley stops, all in pelagic waters.

PROVIDENCE PETREL: 6 (2): pelagic.

SOFT-PLUMAGED PETREL: 6 (1) 2 offshore, 4 pelagic.

Common Diving-petrel: 5 (1): 4 pelagic and 1 offshore in the afternoon.

Australasian Gannet: 9 (4): all inshore.

Black-faced Cormorant: 16 (8): inshore.

Sooty Oystercatcher: 2 (2) inshore.

Silver Gull: 12 (6): inshore.

Pacific Gull: 6 (2): 1 pair at Pirate’s Bay, and 2 groups of 2 on Cheverton Rock, including 1 immature.

Kelp Gull: 30 (6) inshore.

Greater Crested Tern: 94 (3): most inshore, 6 offshore, 2 pelagic.



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