Perth Western Australia Pelagic Trip Report Sunday 20th July 1997

Participants (23) :

Frank O'Connor (organiser), Sue Abbotts, Tanya Butler, Ben Carr, Helen Clark, Michael Craig, John & Hazel Darnell, Tom Delaney, Robert Davis, Tony Kirkby, Graham Little, Bill McAfee, Dusty Millar, Stuart Miller, Glenn Moore, Clive Nealon, David Newsome, Cameron Platell, Phylis Robertson, Wladslaw Sarafin, Ian Standring, Patricia Todd

Conditions :

Departed Hillarys Boat Harbour at 7.55am - returned at 4.05pm, generally a 0.8 metre sea on a 2.5 metre swell.  The day was fine with a forecast maximum of 21 degrees and light winds.  An excellent day for this time of year.

Description :

The day started out slowly with little seen before Rottnest Island except for a few Australasian Gannets and the first of many Great Skuas.

We went around the back of Rottnest Island where we stopped for a good view of a Southern Giant-Petrel.  The first Yellow-nosed Albatross was seen.  A semi distant Wilson's Storm-Petrel was the only storm-petrel seen for the day.

As the depth increased the number of Yellow-nosed Albatross increased, and a few individual Little Shearwaters flew quickly past.  We stopped the boat when we started to see our first petrels. The depth was about 240 metres.

There were about 30 Yellow-nosed Albatross, and we were surprised by the number of Australasian Gannets and Crested Terns that far from shore. A few Great-winged Petrels and Soft-plumaged Petrels flew past giving good looks.

After 45 minutes we moved on, stopping briefly for a raft of about 25 birds which included about 10 gannets with one being harassed by a Great Skua.  We headed out to a depth of 450 metres where there were more petrels and about 60 Yellow-nosed Albatross came into the boat.  Finally, a Black-browed Albatross came in but it was the only one for the day.  The highlight of the day was a Yellow-nosed Albatross of the nominate race 'chlororhynchos'.  It was a full adult with pale grey back of the neck and a darker eye brow.  Some good photos were hopefully taken when it was close to the boat.  This is believed to be one of only a few Australian records of this race which is normally found in the Atlantic.

We headed south and slightly inshore, but the birds started to dry up with mainly only Yellow-nosed Albatross being seen.  A submarine provided some interest.  We then headed back, stopping for a short while near the west end of Rottnest where we saw a school of Bottle-nose Dolphins and a few Humpback Whales.

As we passed through the reef at Hillarys we had a brief detour to Little Island.  There were a number of Australian Sea-lions, plus Pied Cormorants, a few terns and gulls.  We docked at about 16:05.

I tried a burley mixture of minced livers, kidneys, bread crumbs and fish oil but it didn't seem to have any great effect.  A trial of popcorn mixed into the fish scraps didn't seem to help much either.  I think that we will simply revert to fish scraps, fish oil, and pollard / breadcrumbs.

Many thanks to the skipper Andrew and the deck hand Nicky.  Thanks also to the participants who make these trips possible.

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

07:55 S31 49.7, E115 42.9, 7m, 1.8km, 258 (just outside Hillarys)
08:50 S31 58.7, E115 27.8, 30m, 30.7km, 239 (off Rottnest)
09:55 S32 02.9, E115 11.3, 240m, 57.2km, 247 (stopped for 45 minutes)
11:05 S32 06.2, E115 04.8, 450m, 69.0km, 246 (stopped for 40 minutes)
12:15 S32 13.4, E115 03.9, 335m, 77.1km, 237 (turned around)

Bird List (Christidis & Boles order) :

Southern Giant-Petrel (1)
Great-winged Petrel (11)
Soft-plumaged Petrel (12)
Little Shearwater (3 while moving)
Black-browed Albatross (1 immature)
Yellow-nosed Albatross (race bassi) (200+)
Yellow-nosed Albatross (race chlororhynchos) (1)
Wilson's Storm-Petrel (1 while moving)
Australasian Gannet (40+)
Pied Cormorant (5)
Great Skua (14)
Silver Gull (30)
Crested Tern (25)

Darter (1) harbour
Little Pied Cormorant (2) harbour
Pied Cormorant (~100) harbour & Little Island
Little Black Cormorant (4) harbour
Silver Gull (50+) harbour & Little Island
Caspian Tern (1) Little Island
Crested Tern (10) harbour & Little Island
Welcome Swallow (3) harbour & just outside

Mammal List :

Humpback Whale (3 or 4)
Bottle-nose Dolphin (10-15)
Australian Sea-lion (3) Little Island

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