19 August 2017 Report - Eaglehawk Neck
This trip was organised by the Sydney Pelagics birding group for the weekend of August 19 and 20, 2017.
OBSERVERS: Hal Epstein, Steve Hey, Greg McLachlan, Jodi Osgood, Dean Purcell, Dirk Tomsa, Els Wakefield, Richard Webber, Tom Wilson, Andrew Wood, Melanie Wood and Roger McGovern (report compiler).
WEATHER: Partly cloudy with numerous sunny breaks and squally, heavy showers. Cold south westerly winds at 25 to 30 knots in the morning and increasing to over 30 knots at midday and the air temperature ranged from 3degC in the morning up to 8degC in the mid-afternoon.
SEA: Quite uncomfortable seas at around 2 metres inshore to the Hippolytes and increasing to 3 to 3.5 metres at the shelf. The large chop and heavy spray on the return journey was unpleasant and there were a couple of cases of sea sickness.
ACTIVITY: Departed Pirates Bay Wharf at 7.10am and headed out to the Hippolytes before continuing in an easterly direction to the continental shelf break. Started berleying at 9.20am in 400 fathoms and stayed at this location (drifting north east in the strong wind) until heading back as the wind increased at around 12.30pm, arriving back at the dock just before 3.00pm.
MAMMALS: Common Dolphin: two small pods of 6 to 8 encountered on the journey out to the shelf. Australian Fur Seals: small numbers of Australian Fur Seals (up to 8) on and around the Hippolytes.
BIRDS: We recorded a total of 29 species beyond the entrance to Pirates Bay with the highlights being two Sooty Albatross, two Light-mantled Albatross and three Grey Petrel making this an outstanding pelagic trip, even for Eaglehawk Neck and especially for the Sydney-based birders for whom these were life birds.
(Note that the numbers in parentheses represent the approximate maximum number of that species in view at one time)
|Grey-backed Storm Petrel||8||(1) All pelagic|
|Wandering Albatross||1||(1) Adult bird, pelagic|
|Antipodean Albatross||5||(2) All pelagic. Three adults, one immature and one juvenile ssp gibsoni|
|Southern Royal Albatross||2||(1) One offshore and one pelagic|
|SOOTY ALBATROSS||2||(1) Both pelagic.|
|LIGHT-MANTLED ALBATROSS||2||(1) One offshore on the outward journey and the other pelagic|
|Shy Albatross||42||(20) About ten inshore, ten offshore and the rest pelagic|
|Campbell Albatross||1||(1) Pelagic|
|Black-browed Albatross||5||(2) All pelagic|
|Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross||1||(1) Inshore|
|Buller's Albatross||2||(1) Both pelagic|
|Providence Petrel||1||(1) Photographed twice but probably the same individual|
|Cape Petrel||5||(1) One offshore, four pelagic. One capense and four australe|
|Southern Giant Petrel||2||(1) Both pelagic|
|Northern Giant Petrel||1||(1) Pelagic|
|Great-winged Petrel||18||(4) Six offshore and the rest pelagic|
|Grey-faced Petrel||12||(2) All pelagic|
|GREY PETREL||3||(1) All pelagic|
|White-headed Petrel||1||(1) Only briefly seen in pelagic waters|
|Soft-plumaged Petrel||5||(1) One offshore and the rest pelagic|
|Common Diving Petrel||7||(2) All offshore not far from the Hippolytes|
|Fairy Prion||20||(3) All pelagic|
|Slender-billed Prion||1||(1) Pelagic - identified from photograph|
|Antarctic Prion||1||(1) Pelagic – identified from Steve Hey photograph|
|Prion species||30||All pelagic|
|Australasian Gannet||12||(2) About 8 inshore and the rest offshore|
|Silver Gull||30||(20) All inshore|
|Pacific Gull||2||(2) On the Hippolytes|
|Greater Crested Tern||5||(2) All inshore|
|Short-beaked Common Dolphin||16|
|Australian Fur Seal||8|