Eaglehawk Neck pelagic trip report 23 March 2019

Eaglehawk Neck Pelagic Trip Report – 23rd March 2019

Participants:

Joe Bates, Helen Cunningham, Michael Dempsey, Karen Dick, Scott Linnane, Mona Loofs-Samorzewski (report compiler), Andi Magnusson, Ian McDivett, Will Newbery, Ramit Singal, Peter Vaughan and Els Wakefield (trip organiser).

Boat:

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

Notes:

Quite a wet and choppy ride out but well worth it when we stopped to check out a large feeding flock of seabirds at the entrance to Fortescue Bay. It was when we were leaving and heading towards the Hippolytes that we suddenly connected with the Brown Booby, which approached us from Cape Hauy. As only the second sighting for Tasmania, this juvenile bird caused a lot of excitement, and appears to be the same one that has been hanging around since first sighted in the area on 2nd March. The second dose of excitement for the day came at the shelf break, when a stunning Little Shearwater gave us reasonably close but brief views. Diversity was high for the day, with a large number of great Albatross of different varieties, a few Providence Petrels, various fleeting glimpses of White-headed and Soft-plumaged Petrels and a good range of the smaller Albatross.

Activity:

We left port at 0715 and hugged the coastline on the way south as far as Fortescue Bay, then headed directly east to the Hippolytes and continued east to the shelf-break. We pulled up at our first berley stop at 0950 over 356 fathoms and drifted south until 1116 over 300 fathoms, when we motored north until 1145 and berleyed again over 530 fathoms, drifting south again until 1235. Headed straight back to port, docking at 1450.

Conditions:

There was almost completely heavy cloud as we left, with just a thin band of clear skies along the eastern horizon. There was a reasonably brisk NE wind blowing, which whipped up some choppy waves on top of a low (< 1 m) NE swell. The wind remained consistent all day, hovering around the 15 knot mark, and the swell and choppy waves also stayed the same for the duration. The cloud cleared somewhat in pelagic waters but closed in again as we headed back to shore, in what was a rather long and slightly bouncy ride home. Water temperature was approximately 18°C. A few queasy but none seasick.

 

Mammals:

Australian Fur Seal: 7 on The Hippolytes in the morning.

Common Dolphin: approx 30 inshore in the morning and another 10 in the afternoon.

(Risso’s Dolphin: 4 seen by one observer just before the shelf break, but due to the brevity of the sighting is marked as probable rather than definite.)

 

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

Wilson’s Storm Petrel: 2 (2) pelagic.

Grey-backed Storm Petrel: 2 (1) both pelagic.

White-faced Storm Petrel: 4 (4) pelagic.

Wandering Albatross: 5 (1) 3 adult, 2 juvenile, all pelagic

Antipodean Albatross ssp gibsoni: 4 (1) 2 adult, 2 juvenile, all pelagic.

Wandering-type Albatross: 1 at the first berley spot.

Southern Royal Albatross: 4 (1) pelagic.

Campbell Albatross: 2 (1) pelagic.

Shy Albatross: 77 (56) 11 inshore, 4 offshore, 56 pelagic, 6 inshore in the afternoon. Quite a few young ones, one of which masqueraded as a Salvin’s briefly.

Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross: 1 inshore and followed us into pelagic waters.

Buller’s Albatross: 35 (3) large feeding flock of 30 at entrance to Fortescue Bay in the morning, 2 pelagic, 3 inshore in the afternoon.

Fairy Prion: 6 (1) pelagic

Grey-faced Petrel: 5 (3) 3 offshore just before the first berley stop, then at least another 2 pelagic.

Great-winged Petrel: 2 (1) 1 pelagic and 1 offshore in the afternoon.

Grey-faced/Great-winged Petrel: 2 (1) offshore in the morning, distant.

WHITE-HEADED PETREL: 2 (1) offshore.

PROVIDENCE PETREL: 3 (1) pelagic.

SOFT-PLUMAGED PETREL: 1 at the second berley stop, pelagic.

Pterodroma sp.: 4 (1) 3 pelagic and 1 offshore in the afternoon, all too fast and distant for ID.

White-chinned Petrel: 13 (13) started with 6 offshore and numbers swelled to 13 by the second berley stop.

Sooty Shearwater: 2 (1) both offshore.

Short-tailed Shearwater: ~2800 (~500) Approx 530 inshore, 100 around the Hippolytes, 50 offshore, 1200 pelagic, 840 returning in the afternoon.

LITTLE SHEARWATER: 1 right at the shelf break.

Australasian Gannet: 70 (40) 62 inshore including 40 in feeding flock at Fortescue Bay, 1 offshore, 2 pelagic, 5 inshore in the afternoon. 1 juv at the Hippolytes and 1 juv between 1st and 2nd berley.

BROWN BOOBY: 1 inshore near Fortescue Bay.

Black-faced Cormorant: 540 (500) 18 inshore, 520 on and around the Hippolytes, 2 inshore in the afternoon.

White-bellied Sea-eagle: 1 inshore perched on a tree south of Pirates Bay.

Sooty Oystercatcher: 1 in Pirates Bay.

Silver Gull: 40 (20) all inshore, including 2 that followed us into pelagic waters.

Pacific Gull: 2 (1) 1 inshore, 1 juv near Fortescue Bay.

Kelp Gull: 48 (10) inshore.

Greater Crested Tern: 4 (1) 3 inshore in the morning, 1 inshore in the afternoon.

Forest Raven: 2 (2) on rock stack opposite Thumbs Point.

 

MLS

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