8 December 2018 Report

OVERVIEW

The forecast on Saturday was for >2m seas with winds gusting to 25 knots. The conditions were apparent prior to leaving the Harbour. Surface temperatures were just ~20 deg C typical for this time of year. The day didn’t produce a huge variety of species but we did have good mix of the expected species for this time of year as well as good numbers to keep everyone interested.

TRIP SUMMARY

With a full contingent on board we plied our way through the choppy conditions of the usually protected Harbour towards the Heads. As we were rounding South Head around 7:30am a Peregrine Falcon flew overhead from Middle Head toward Hornby Lighthouse. Judging by the obvious bulging crop the bird had just fed. We motored through the Heads into stiff northeasterly winds and rolling seas. It wasn’t long before we sighted our first Wedge-tailed Shearwater. Despite the lack of interest from the Shearwater they were passing close enough for decent views. A Jaeger, possibly Parasitic, was seen harrying Shearwater off to port.

A few Short-tailed Shearwater were also seen moving quickly edged along by the blustery conditions past the boat. Like the Wedge-tailed none showed any interest. A distant Shy-type was seen well behind the boat making its way headlong into the wind. Two short-beaked common dolphins were also seen just behind the boat. More were seen later with a few of them coming in to ride the bow wave much to the delight of everyone. Australasian Gannet were also observed as we zigzagged our way out through the waves. We motored on a path which took us further north than usual due to the conditions.

As we approached the shelf the situation switched with the birds suddenly showing interest in the berley we had been dispensing. Many Wedge-tailed Shearwater were now trailing us with a few taking some of the scraps in between the wash. The second of the six Shy Albatross seen on the day approached the boat. It was soon quickly followed by another bird.

We set up a drift with the motor running. A lone Wilson’s Storm-Petrel was seen flitting across the surface not far from the boat but away from the drift. A lone Grey-faced Petrel managed to approach the boat undetected making its way to the stern. A single moulting Pomarine Jaeger also joined the throng giving excellent views.

Far off a lone Wandering Albatross was seen making its way toward the boat low to the water. It was a very white bird which was obvious even from a distance. Once stationed behind the boat the Albatross was to dominate the proceedings gulping up everything it could manage to snatch from the water. Not that any other bird was given the chance to indulge in the larger pieces. Those that were mostly successful snatched smaller pieces off the surface while in flight.

As expected for this time of year Flesh-footed Shearwater were also seen. A single distant Black-browed Albatross was also seen. We left the shelf just after midday expecting the trip back to be slower. Birds continued to follow us for some time. We arrived safely back to the Harbour approaching 3:00pm.

BIRD LIST

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

Wilson's Storm Petrel3(3)
Shy Albatross6(3)
Black-browed Albatross1(1)
Wandering Albatross1(1)
Grey-faced Petrel6(4)
Wedge-tailed Shearwater60(40)
Flesh-footed Shearwater 8(5)
Short-tailed Shearwater 15(8)
Australasian Gannet10(6)
Pomarine Jeager2(2)
Jeager sp.1(1)
Greater Crested Tern2(2)

OTHER

Common Dolphin10
Flyingfish2

The next Sydney pelagic trip is scheduled for Saturday 9th February 2019 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


(Many thanks to Dave Irving, Hal Epstein and Roger Mackertich for photographs).

Dave Irving

Dave Irving

Dave Irving

Dave Irving

Hal Epstein

Hal Epstein

Roger Mackertich

Roger Mackertich

Roger Mackertich

Roger Mackertich