Perth Western Australia Pelagic Trip Report Sunday 6th April 1997

Participants (21) :

Frank O'Connor (organiser), George Bradd (Canadian visitor), John Brooke, Margaret Cashman-Bailes, Helen Clark, Michael Craig, Jean Craig, Tom Delaney, Dennis Heinemann, Graham Little, Dusty Millar, Stuart & Jan Miller, Glenn Moore, Ray Nojek, Shane Raidal, Phylis Robertson, Jan Rogers, Wladslaw Sarafin & Stephen, Bruce Wedderburn

Conditions :

Departed Hillarys Boat Harbour at 7.35am - returned at 3.30pm, generally a 1 metre sea on a 0.5 metre swell although choppier the further we went out.  The forecast was for isolated thunderstorms increasing in the afternoon but fortunately they held off.  The breeze was generally an easterly.  The forecast maximum of 24C was exceeded with a 28C maximum.

Description :

This was the third trip of what will probably become two per year (May & August/September).  The day started out with promise as we quickly found some Wedge-tailed and Flesh-footed Shearwaters before we had reached Rottnest Island.  However, things were disappointing after that.  We went around the back of Rottnest where we saw a few terns, a couple of gannets and a distant jaeger.  The shearwaters became quite common.  Off West End we headed for deeper water.  Apart from the shearwaters, there were distant views of a gannet, a Great Skua, one group of Roseate Terns, a Wilson's Storm-Petrel and a fairly close Pomarine Jaeger.

As the depth increased we saw our first Great-winged Petrels, and stopped in approximately 200 metres.  We put out a slick including oil and minced livers and kidneys.  However only the Flesh-footed Shearwaters were interested although the Great-winged Petrels came closer.

We decided to head out for deeper water.  A couple of distant flying fish were of interest. We stopped with the depth just over 300 metres.  The activity was very quiet although Wilson's Storm-Petrels come closer to inspect the slick.  An unusual sight in the distance were what appeared to be some martins or swallows flying towards shore.  This was about 40kms out past Rottnest.

The activity was very quiet so we decided to head back but travel further south than previous trips.  Soon after moving, a few Fairy Terns were seen, which again was unexpected this far from land.  We saw more of the same, and then headed for West End to try to get closer to Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and jaegers.

As we passed through the reef at Hillarys we had a brief detour to Little Island.  There were a number of Australian Sea Lions including a male that climbed to the top of the limestone, plus Pied Cormorants, a few terns and gulls.  We docked at about 15:30.

It turned out to be a great day for a boat trip, but the list of 4 pelagics and 4 others plus terns was disappointing, although there were 3 species (Pomarine Jaeger, Fairy & Roseate Terns) not seen on the previous trips.

Many thanks to the skipper Andrew and the deck hands Pat and Mitch (who chopped up the fish scraps and prepared the burley).  Thanks also to the participants who make these trips possible.

Time/Latitude/Longitude/Depth/Distance/Bearing of most stoppages:

07:40 S31 49.5, E115 43.5, 7m, 0.8km, 267 (Hillarys)
08:30 S31 58.8, E115 27.5, 30m, 31.2km, 239 (off Rottnest)
08:45 S32 00.1, E115 23.6, 56m, 37.7km, 241 (off West End)
09:30 S32 00.8, E115 12.4, 228m, 54.0km, 250 (stopped for 30 minutes)
10:30 S32 07.0, E115 07.2, 309m, 66.4km, 243 (stopped for 40 minutes)
11:40 S32 11.1, E115 09.7, 178m, 67.2km, 236 (stopped for 35 minutes)
13:30 S32 02.3, E115 25.7, 31m, 37.4km, 233 (off West End for 30 minutes)

Bird List (Christidis & Boles order) :

Great-winged Petrel (8)
Wedge-tailed Shearwater (40)
Flesh-footed Shearwater (300+)
Wilson's Storm-Petrel (10)
Australasian Gannet (8)
Great Skua (2)
Pomarine Jaeger (1)
Arctic Jaeger (1)
Jaeger sp. (8)
Silver Gull (70)
Roseate Tern (4)
Crested Tern (25)
Fairy Tern (5)
Bridled Tern (25)

martin/swallow sp. (6)

Darter (1) harbour
Pied Cormorant (~100) harbour & Little Island
Little Pied Cormorant (2) harbour
Silver Gull (30+) harbour & Little Island
Caspian Tern (5) Little Island
Crested Tern (20) harbour & Little Island
Laughing Turtle-Dove (1) harbour
Australian Magpie (4) harbour
Welcome Swallow (6) harbour & just outside

Mammal List :

Humpback Whale (1)
Dolphin sp. (15)
Australian Sea Lion (15) Little Island

Copyright Frank O'Connor 1997-2004 Visits Last Modified 31st January 2002