Perth Western Australia Pelagic Trip Report Sunday 14th September 1997

Participants (21) :

Frank O'Connor (organiser), James Bennett, Tony Bennett, Jim Beruldsen (Vic), John Brooke, Jean Craig, Michael Craig, Dave Crossley, Jan Crossley, John Darnell, Tony Kirkby, Glenn Moore, Lloyd Nielsen (Qld), Cameron Platell, Aye Aye Sarafin, Wladslaw Sarafin, Alistair Stewart (NSW), Barbara Stewart (NSW), David Stewart (NSW), Ian Williams

Conditions :

Departed Hillarys Boat Harbour at 7.35am - returned at 3.40pm.  The forecast was for a 1.0 metre sea on a 1.0 metre swell.  There was a 15kn easterly breeze when we left that increased the sea, but it calmed down by the time that we returned.  The swell was perhaps about 1.5 to 2 metres at the furthest point.  The day was fine although cloudy with a forecast maximum of 20 degrees.  A very comfortable day for seabirding.  Departed Hillarys Boat Harbour at 7.35am - returned at 3.40pm.  The forecast was for a 1.0 metre sea on a 1.0 metre swell.  There was a 15kn easterly breeze when we left that increased the sea, but it calmed down by the time that we returned.  The swell was perhaps about 1.5 to 2 metres at the furthest point.  The day was fine although cloudy with a forecast maximum of 20 degrees.  A very comfortable day for seabirding.

Description :

The day started out slowly with very little seen until after Rottnest Island except for a few Australasian Gannets and the first Great Skua.

We went around the back of Rottnest Island and then headed west for deeper water until we found our first few birds.

As the depth reached 300 metres we found large numbers of Yellow-nosed Albatross, Australasian Gannets and Flesh-footed Shearwaters feeding with a large school of Bridled Dolphins which we believe to be uncommon in WA.

We stopped and started trying to follow the birds, but apart from a few Great-winged Petrels, good looks at a Shy Albatross and fair views of a couple of White-faced Storm-Petrels there was nothing else new.

Despite throwing over a lot of fish scraps, pollard, fish oil, etc we could not get any birds to come to the back of the boat.  We assumed this was because they were feeding.

In the afternoon as the wind dropped off, the birds were all resting on the water in single or rafts.  The Australasian Gannets were in rafts of as many as 50.  I have never seen so many gannets in WA.

We headed back slightly early seeing only a few birds plus a couple of Humpback Whales briefly.

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, and a few gulls.  We docked at about 15:40.

Many thanks to the skipper Tony and the deck hands John and Graham.

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

07:35 S31 49.6, E115 44.3, 5m, 0.5km, 237 (just outside Hillarys)
08:35 S31 58.2, E115 31.5, ?m, 25.5km, 233 (off Rottnest)
08:55 S32 00.5, E115 25.5, 42m, 35.6km, 237 (off West End)
09:30 S32 01.1, E115 16.4, ?m, 48.5km, 246
10:20 S32 00.0, E115 11.9, 308m, 54.2km, 251 (first large group of birds)
11:00 S32 00.9, E115 09.5, 500m, 58.3km, 251
11:10 S32 01,6, E115 09.4, ?m, 58.9km, 250
12:30 S32 03.9, E115 08.1, 480m, 62.5km, 247
12:50 S32 00.5, E115 12.0, 265m, 54.4km, 250
13:20 S31 56.1, E115 13.5, ?m, 49.6km, 258
14:40 S31 51.1, E115 30.9, ?m, 20.9km, 264

Bird List (Christidis & Boles order) :

Great-winged Petrel (9)
Flesh-footed Shearwater (250+)
Shy Albatross (1 race cauta?)
Yellow-nosed Albatross (race bassi) (200+)
White-faced Storm-Petrel (2)
Australasian Gannet (500+)
Pied Cormorant (8)
Great Skua (5)
Silver Gull (30)
Crested Tern (50)

Little Pied Cormorant (2) harbour
Pied Cormorant (50+) harbour & Little Island
Silver Gull (20+) harbour & Little Island
Welcome Swallow (3) harbour & just outside

Mammal List :

Humpback Whale (2)
Bridled Dolphin (300)
Australian Sea-lion (6) Little Island

Next Trip :

The next trips are likely to be Sunday May 17th, June 14th, July 12th and August 9th 1998.  Notices will go out in March. The expected cost will be $60 but this depends on how many people book.

I am also considering planning a trip from Dunsborough or Busselton out to Cape Naturaliste and Sugarloaf Rock area during summer, but I doubt if I will get this organised for this summer.  This will probably mean leaving Perth about 6am, getting on the boat about 9:30am, returning about 3:30 or 4pm, and getting back to Perth by 6:30 or 7pm.  I need to find a deep sea fishing boat operator in the area.  If you are interested then let me know.

For details contact Frank O'Connor on 08 9386 5694 or email foconnor@iinet.net.au

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