Eaglehawk Pelagic Trip Report – May 27th, 2018

Eaglehawk Pelagic Trip Report – May 27th, 2018

Participants:

Ruth Brozek, Karen Dick, Ian Halliday, Rob Hamilton, Andy Jensen, Mona
Loofs-Samorzewski, Mark Sanders, Sue Taylor, Bill Twiss, Els Wakefield, Tom
Wheller and Paul Brooks (organiser and report compiler)

Boat:

The Pauletta, skippered by John Males, with deckhand Heath.

Notes:

With strong northerlies predicted for the day, we were hopeful birds would
be up and about and, with a good array of species the day before in the
light winds, we thought we were a good chance of seeing some interesting
species. Almost as soon as we left Pirates Bay, we had our first
*Pterodroma* petrel pass the boat from the north and we soon had a steady
stream of Great-winged, Grey-faced and Soft-plumaged Petrel passing the
boat, all coming past from the north. Like the day before, we had good
numbers and diversity of birds around the boat straight away, but it took a
little while for our first Westland Petrel to appear. Not long after that
an Antarctic Prion flew by; shortly after that, another came in to feed in
the slick. A Grey Petrel shot past the stern, giving good views but not
stopping for photos. A Sooty Albatross put in a distant appearance; there
were some anxious customers on the boat as not everyone had seen the bird
but, about 10 minutes later, the bird (or possibly a second bird) returned,
giving reasonable views although never approaching closely. An Arctic Tern
was another bird to pass by without stopping but 2 Antarctic Prions gave
good views as they passed the stern and fed in the slick. Just before we
left deep water, a Black-bellied Storm Petrel put in a brief appearance (an
unusual record for May) and a Light-mantled Albatross flew by a long way
off. While we had a lot of quality birds, the views of most of them
weren’t as good as what we’d have liked, but it was still an excellent day
on the water.

Activity:

Left port at 0725 hrs and, with the forecast predicting northerlies, headed
east. We pulled up over 160 fathoms at 0935 hrs to berley, drifting south
to 250 fathoms at 1255 hrs. Ran back up the slick for a km before heading
straight back to port, docking at 1500 hrs.

Conditions:

Skies were partly cloudy as we left Pirates Bay in the morning in choppy
conditions with a 5-10 knot northerly breeze. Offshore, the swell was
around 1 metre, rising to 2 metres as we approached the shelf, with the
seas to 1.5 m in the strengthening northerly. The wind picked up to 15-20
knots as we neared the shelf-break and remained consistent until we headed
back to port, when the wind died out and the water flattened out. Water
temperature was 14.8 deg C inshore, rising to 15.8 deg C out wide. None
seasick.

Mammals:

Short-beaked Common Dolphin: c. 12 (c. 12) Close inshore in the morning.

Humpback Whale: 1 or 2 animals sounded a couple of times near the boat
inshore in the morning.

Australian/New Zealand Fur Seal: 4 (3) 1 offshore in the morning; 1 pelagic.

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

Little Penguin: 1 seen by a couple of observers inshore in the afternoon.

Wilson’s Storm Petrel: 1 Pelagic.

Grey-backed Storm Petrel: 4 (1) 1 offshore in the morning; remainder
pelagic.

White-faced Storm Petrel: 3 (1) Pelagic.

BLACK-BELLIED STORM PETREL: 1 Approached briefly in pelagic waters not long
before we headed back to port.

Wandering Albatross: 1 A 3rd-4th year bird which landed at the back of the
boat and fed in the slick.

Antipodean Albatross: 7 (2) 4 adult male *gibsoni*; 1 adult female *gibsoni*;
2 immature *antipodensis*/*gibsoni*.

Southern Royal Albatross: 2 (1) 2 juveniles in pelagic waters.

SOOTY ALBATROSS: 1 An adult that passed the boat at distance before heading
south out of sight. About 10 minutes later this or another bird approached
the boat slightly closer before again disappearing to the south. It’s
possible that 2 birds were involved.

LIGHT-MANTLED ALBATROSS: 1 Passed the boat at long distance; identified
from photo afterwards.

Black-browed Albatross: 1 An adult in pelagic waters.

Campbell Albatross: 4 (2) 2 adults and 2 immatures in pelagic waters.

Black-browed/Campbell Albatross: 2 (1) Young birds seen distantly offshore
in the morning.

Shy Albatross: c. 60 (25) 7 inshore in the morning; 19 offshore in the
morning; remainder pelagic. Mainly adults with 4 immature birds – one
adult showed breeding flush on the bill, a probable *cauta*.

Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross: 2 (1) Both inshore in the morning.

Buller’s Albatross: 17 (2) 6 inshore in the morning; 10 offshore in the
morning; 1 pelagic.

Northern Giant Petrel: 4 (4) 3 immature, 1 juvenile in pelagic water.

Cape Petrel: 12 (11) 1 offshore in the morning; remainder pelagic. 2
nominate birds, the remainder *australe*.

ANTARCTIC PRION: 4 (2) All pelagic. The first bird was found in
photographs after the trip. The second bird was initially thought to be
Slender-billed Prion but photos revealed it to be an Antarctic Prion. 2
birds circled the boat and fed in the slick briefly just before we left
deep water.

Fairy Prion: c. 370 (c. 50) 12 inshore in the morning; 290 offshore in the
morning; remainder pelagic.

Great-winged Petrel: c. 70 (25) 1 inshore in the morning; 6 offshore in the
morning; c. 60 pelagic; 1 offshore in the afternoon. Generally flying
north to south, although there were often many birds flying around the boat.

Great-winged/Grey-faced Petrel: 18 (2) Offshore in the morning – birds that
were too distant to identify but most were likely to be Great-winged
Petrel, which were far more common than Grey-faced throughout the day.
Generally
flying north to south.

WHITE-HEADED PETREL: 38 (2) 17 offshore in the morning; 20 pelagic; 1
offshore in the afternoon. Generally flying north to south. As we pulled
up to berley in deep water, one bird stayed with the boat for a while, even
dipping into the slick, unusual for this species.

Grey-faced Petrel: 2 (1) Pelagic.

SOFT-PLUMAGED PETREL: 8 (1) 4 offshore in the morning; 4 pelagic. Generally
flying north to south. One of these birds fed in the slick with the
White-headed Petrel when we first stopped.

*Pterodroma* sp.: 5 (1) 1 inshore in the morning; 3 offshore in the
morning; 1 pelagic. Too distant to identify but probably
White-headed/Soft-plumaged Petrels.

GREY PETREL: 1 Made a lightning pass close by the stern in pelagic waters.

White-chinned Petrel: 4 (3) 1 offshore in the morning; remainder pelagic.

WESTLAND PETREL: 2 (1) Both birds gave good views in pelagic waters.

Sooty Shearwater: 1 Pelagic.

Short-tailed Shearwater: 4 (2) 3 inshore in the morning; 1 pelagic.

Common Diving Petrel: 4 (1) Offshore in the morning.

Black-faced Cormorant: 1 inshore in the morning.

Australasian Gannet: 18 (4) Inshore in the morning.

Silver Gull: 4 (1) Inshore in the morning.

Pacific Gull: 1 inshore in the morning and afternoon.

Kelp Gull: c. 60 (c. 60) 6 inshore in the morning; a raft of c. 60 near the
mouth of Pirates Bay in the afternoon.

Greater Crested Tern: 32 (3) 24 inshore in the morning; 2 offshore in the
morning; 6 pelagic.

White-fronted Tern: 4 (3) Pelagic.

ARCTIC TERN: 1 Flew past reasonably close without stopping – called as an
Arctic Tern at the time of sighting and confirmed from photographs.

PB



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