Perth Western Australia Pelagic Trip Report Sunday 28th June 1998

Participants (16) :

Frank O'Connor (organiser), Marjory Clegg, Jean Craig, Dave Crossley, Jan Crossley, John Darnell, Christine Halais, Tony Kirkby, Roger McGovern, Dusty Millar, Dave Mitchell, Glenn Moore, Ray Nojek, Ian Standring, Nigel Sutherland, Liz Walker

Conditions :

Third time lucky!  Departed Hillarys Boat Harbour at 7.05am - returned at 3.20pm.  The forecast was for a 1.6 metre sea on a 2.0 metre swell and easing.  It was calm when we left, although there was a light breeze further out which swung to the south by the afternoon making it cooler.  The day was fine although mostly cloudy with a maximum of 16 degrees (although the morning minimum had been 3!).  The previous three days had seen weak cold fronts passing through with accompanied squalls.  A very promising day for seabirding.

Description :

The best trip from Hillarys yet with 10 pelagic species plus Great Skua and Australasian Gannet.

The day started out slowly as usual with very little seen until after Rottnest Island except for a few Australasian Gannets.  A few garfish were seen jumping just as we saw our first Yellow-nosed Albatross.  A couple of whales were spotted by a few people in the distance.  After Rottnest Island we headed west for deeper water until we found our first few petrels.

As the depth passed 300 metres we found more Yellow-nosed Albatross, and the first of the Soft-plumaged Petrels that were common throughout the day.  A few Great-winged Petrels passed through before the excitement started with several Cape Petrels, one Southern-Giant-Petrel and a few Wilson's Storm-Petrels.  A Great Skua came in briefly.  There were not large numbers of birds, but the range of species was the best seen yet.

We continued west to the greatest depth so far for these trips of about 680 metres.  However, it was fairly quiet so we started to head back in.  A Little Shearwater caused a very brief excitement as it quickly passed by, plus a few people saw the first Kerguelen Petrel.

As we came closer in, there was excitement as a probable prion was spotted.  We stopped and Roger used the last of our fish oil and fish scraps.  The next hour was the best of any trip we have had from Perth.  Apart from the large numbers of Soft-plumaged Petrels, there were some more Cape and Great-winged Petrels.  Then the Slender-billed Prion was spotted again, and it came in close to the boat a few times.  A Kerguelen Petrel also flew around for a while.  There were also two giant-petrels.  A Southern-Giant-Petrel flew close by the boat and joined the second bird which was on the water about 50 metres or so from the boat.  A few people identified the second bird as a Northern-Giant-Petrel.

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 was an Australian Sea Lion, plus Pied Cormorants, and a few gulls.  We docked at about 15:20.

Many thanks to the skipper Andrew and the deck hand Dan, and very special thanks to Roger McGovern who supervised the chumming.

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

07:05 S31 49.6, E115 44.3, 8m, 0.5km, 257 (just outside Hillarys)
08:05 S31 58.8, E115 29.8, 25m, 28.3km, 235 (off Rottnest)
08:25 S32 00.4, E115 25.1, 46m, 36.0km, 238 (off West End)
09:00 S32 02.2, E115 15.4, 145m, 50.8km, 245
09:35 S32 04.0, E115 08.8, 350m, 61.6km, 246 (first stop until 10:30)
11:00 S32 04.7, E115 03.2, 600m, 70.1km, 249
11:10 S32 04.7, E115 01.7, 680m, 72.3km, 249 (stopped until 11:45)
12:35 S31 59.9, E115 12.0, 360m, 53.9km, 251 (stopped until 13:30)

Bird List (Christidis & Boles order) :

Southern Giant-Petrel (2)
Northern Giant-Petrel (1)
Cape Petrel (8+)
Kerguelen Petrel (2)
Great-winged Petrel (9+)
Soft-plumaged Petrel (80-100)
Slender-billed Prion (1) *** lifer ***
Little Shearwater (1)
Yellow-nosed Albatross (race bassi) (61+)
Wilson's Storm-Petrel (5)
Australasian Gannet (10)
Pied Cormorant (2)
Great Skua (3)
Silver Gull (5)
Crested Tern (8)

Little Pied Cormorant (2) harbour
Pied Cormorant (50+) harbour & Little Island
Silver Gull (10+) harbour & Little Island
Caspian Tern (5) Little Island
Crested Tern (10+) Little Island
Welcome Swallow (3) harbour & just outside

Mammal List :

Humpback Whale (5 probable)
Dolphin sp. (1)
Australian Sea-lion (1) Little Island

Next Trip :

The next trips are on Sunday August 9th and September 20th 1998.  There are a few places still available on each trip.  The cost is likely to be $65 depending on numbers.

For details contact Frank O'Connor on 08 9386 5694 or 08 9167 1445 or email

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