Sunday, July 17, 2011

The good, the bad and the July pelagic

I don't know about you but when I think about pelagics in July I think rarities for SA -  Blue Petrel, Grey Petrel and the ultimate in Pelagic Holy Grails - Light-Mantled Sooty Albatross.... the opportunities are endless... So we were determined to get out past the Shelf this weekend no matter what.

Carefully we scanned the weather reports and discussed the possibilities of dodging yet another cancelled trip due to bad weather and decided Saturday would be the better of the 2 days. So, a mad dash was made by all the get to Port Mac and out onto the water by 7am Saturday morning. Stu and I travelled together and met Colin, Grant,Peter & the others there.

I was particularly excited at going on this trip as I would get to see my dear friend Vik who was finally going to get a bucketful of ticks promised to him by Stuart and myself. This trip would be Viks first pelagic so surely he would get at least 12 lifers! I rarely get to see Vik who lives interstate so it was a mega treat for me to actually be able to spend some time with him and I was really looking forward to it.

Saturday morning was FREEZING! Armed with thermals, wet weather gear, bins, cameras and Kwells there was no stopping us!

So onto the Remarkable we went with hopes soaring at the clear skies, 11 degree water temperature and northly breeze. Black-faced Cormorants watched from the rocks on the way out...

2 hrs of cruising out on a flat ocean we thought about all of the rarities we were about to find. Then we stopped the boat and started the burleying.

We excitedly waited to be inundated with mega rarities......

We waited, and waited...

and waited.......

We are still waiting....

are we there yet???

To kill the bordom we started eating.....

We had a cuppa tea....

We did the dishes....

We slept.....

We thought about crying.........

Hours at sea in July and we only got the following species:
Shy Albatross
Black-browed Albatross
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross
Northern Giant Petrel
Great-winged Petrel
Grey-backed Storm-Petrel
Fairy Prion
Antarctic Prion
Fluttering Shearwater
Sooty Shearwater
Shy Albatross

Northern Giant Petrel

Grey-backed Storm Petrels

Antarctic Prion

Shy (White-capped) Albatross

Fairy Prion

Northern Giant Petrel

It was so pathetic that we eventually gave up and came in early and went birding around Port Mac instead! The highlight of the day was 40 Cattle Egrets in a tree which to me was far more exciting than anything on the boat and we also got a field of Magpie Geese, Swamp harriers hunting Teal, about 6 Buff-banded Rail, Double Banded Plovers in breeding plumage and a Kelp Gull.

Cattle Egrets

Double-banded Plovers

We went to Periwinkles for dinner and drowned our sorrows... Prawn Penne & Chardy followed by Honeycomb Chocolate Pudding & Coffee with wonderful friends Stu, Vik, Colin, Peter and Grant - the day was salvaged....

Today we went to Dry Creek Reserve as Colin wanted Pied Currawongs in SA then headed home.

This weekend the birding left a lot to be desired but it was a great weekend because I shared it with my friends. A weekend with them is always wonderful.

My dear friend Vik & I  (still hoping for a Light-mantled Sooty Albatross)