Monday, March 7, 2011

Pelagic Adventure

Saturday found me heading back to Port MacDonnell with Stuart and friends. The drive was a rushed affair as we did not leave Stuarts house until after midday so no birding along the way this trip....

We all had an early night. I was glad of that as I have a virus and have been feeling lousy all week, but there was no way I'd miss the Pelagic!!

We were up before 5am, had breaky and coffee at a leisurely pace before heading to the boat ramp, met up with Mark and Jamie who arrived with the tinnie to take us out to the Remarkable – Marks boat and we headed out to sea at 6.30am.

Bottle Nosed Dolphins swam with us part of the way out past the continental shelf.

Albatross were spotted early in the trip along with Gannets and a Diving Petrel.

Aust Gannet

We noticed surprisingly few Shearwaters on this trip. We had 5 species but only a handful of each (if that). A trawler had gone through, heading to Victoria just before we got out past the Shelf so perhaps the Shearwaters were following it?

There were 5 species of Albatross with over 10 Bullers –  very good views of them at the back of the boat.  

Bullers Albatross

Black Browed Albatross - Campbells

Shy Albatross

Wandering Albatross

Bullers Albatross

Yellow nosed Albatross


One interesting find was a Little Penguin swimming at the surface – we were well past the Shelf at the time.  I was surprised that it was hunting that far out to sea!

It was a bit choppy and a couple of people got sea sick. Surprisingly I did not get sick even though I have a virus. I actually felt better out there than I have all week! Birding is obviously a good cure for illness!

Fairy Prion - moulting

Great Winged Petrel - Gouldii variety

We enjoyed a yummy BBQ lunch and cuppa tea – we gulfed it down,  expecting that the moment our cameras were put down and our hands were full of food a rarity would appear! 

We started to head back in and came across a flock of approx 150+ Gannet feeding on fish that had been rounded up by a large pod of Bottle Nosed Dolphins. Dolphins were jumping out of the water as Gannets were diving in. It was magic!


It was an enjoyable trip with a good variety of birds. No lifers but I did bump up my 2011 Year list which sits at  270 as of March 6.

Bullers Albatross

Fairy Prion

Great Winged Petrel

                                                              Yellow Nosed Albatross


Pelagic 6 March 2011

Crested Tern
Little Penguin
Aust Gannet
Wandering Albatross
Shy Albatross
BlackBrowed Albatross – both varieties
Bullers Albatross
Yellow Nosed Albatross
Great Winged Petrel – both races
White Chinned Petrel
Grey Backed Storm Petrel
Wilsons Storm Petrel
White Faced Storm Petrel
Fairy Prion
Huttons Shearwater
Short Tailed Shearwater
Fluttering Shearwater
Fleshy Footed Shearwater
Sooty Shearwater
Common Diving Petrel
Pomarine Skua
Arctic Jaegar
Long Tailed Jaegar

It is interesting that on these trips we always see numerous Cabbage White Moths flying out past the shelf, heading to a watery grave. Imagine how long it must take them to fly all that way!