Monday, February 20, 2012

Port MacDonnell Pelagic

This weekend a dedicated group of  us headed to Port MacDonnell for a Pelagic boat trip hoping to spot a rarity. We had a couple of new people attend this weekend,  they coped well and enjoyed a stack of Lifers. Most of us did not get any Lifers this trip so it was nice to be able to enjoy the excitement they experienced.

During the day we saw 4 Albatross species – Shy, Black-browed, Indian Yellow-nosed and Bullers.

Bullers Albatross

Yellow-nosed Albatross

Yellow-nosed Albatross

5 species of Shearwater – Fluttering, Short-tailed, Flesh-footed, Sooty and Hutton’s.

Flesh-footed Shearwater

Flesh-footed Shearwater

A few Wilson’s Storm-petrel were seen along with Great-winged Petrel and Aust Gannet. 

Great-winged Petrel - NZ race Gouldi (Grey-faced Petrel)

Great-winged Petrel

Wilsons Storm-petrel

Weather conditions were S to SE wind, 5-10kts early abating through the day.

Seas: Slight conditions early, wind wave to .5m. No swell

Areas of sea fog limied visiblity to 50m at times.
The water temperature was 16C and the SW breeze made conditions perfect so it is confusing as to why the species diversity was not higher?

Most of the birds seen were not hungry, preferring to sit on the water than be tempted with food.

Interesting to note that there were:-
No ‘Great’ Albatross
No White-chinned Petrels
No Skuas
No White-faced Storm Petrels
Five species of Shearwater but none in large numbers
All species reluctant to feed near boat or on the slick

The highlight of the day was a small pod of Pilot Whales that approached us for a closer look.