Perth Western Australia Pelagic Trip Report Sunday 9th August 1998

Participants (21) :

Frank O'Connor (organiser), Paul Baker, James Bennett, Jean Craig, Michael Craig, Dave Crossley, Hazel Darnell, John Darnell, Tom Delaney, Tony Kirkby, Bill McRoberts, Dave Mitchell, David Newsome, Cameron Platell, Simon ?, Dave Quady, Shane Raidal, Erica ?, Isabelle Robichaud, Bruce Wedderburn, Tom Wheller

Conditions :

Departed Hillarys Boat Harbour at 7.10am - returned at 3.20pm.  The forecast was for a 0.8 metre sea on a 3.0 metre swell and easing, but there was little swell.  There was a light north east breeze when we left, which swung to the north west by the afternoon.  The day was fine with a maximum of 22 degrees.  The previous Wednesday / Thursday had seen a storm pass through with 4 metre plus swells, which promised a good day for seabirding.

Description :

A good trip with 9 pelagic species plus Great Skua and Australasian GannetYellow-nosed Albatross were everywhere, but the quantity of petrels were surprisingly low.

The day started out with Yellow-nosed Albatross and a few distant Soft-plumaged Petrels and a probable Hutton's Shearwater seen very early.  Four Galahs were seen by many people flying towards the coast.  As we passed Rottnest Island a Black-browed Albatross was seen in the distance.  A few people also saw a Little Shearwater and some whales.  Then the first group of Hutton's Shearwaters passed by heading south.  These were regular for most of the day.

We headed west passing a group of about 50 Silver Gulls scattered on the surface, shortly followed by groups of Australasian Gannets and Yellow-nosed Albatross.  As the passed 200 metres depth, we started burleying but without much success.  Our first Great-winged Petrel appeared briefly plus a few Bottle-nose Dolphins.

At 400 metres we saw our first Shy Albatross and stopped the boat for 15 minutes.  It circled the boat and landed on the water close by allowing good photographs to be taken.  A second Shy Albatross also came in, but a Great-winged Petrel was the only petrel seen.

We moved on seeing a few Soft-plumaged Petrels, more groups of Hutton's Shearwaters and another Great-winged Petrel.  We changed directions a few times hoping for a congregation of petrels but without luck.  At about 10:40 we turned around to retrace our wake hoping that the burleying and oil slick may have attracted the birds.  We stopped again for 40 minutes with the depth about 540 metres.  We continued burleying and let out an oil slick which paid some dividends with a couple of White-faced Storm-Petrels coming in.  Another Shy Albatross was also a highlight.

We headed back in west and turned north for a while, stopping again at about 200 metres.  We stopped for nearly an hour and let out a larger oil slick and more cut up mulies.  Very little was happening except for Yellow-nosed Albatross, until a Cape Petrel came in and passed by very close to the stern.  It stayed around for quite a while fluttering and landing several times in the slick.  It was joined by a White-faced Storm-Petrel and another Shy Albatross was also seen plus many groups of Hutton's Shearwaters.

We then headed back close by Rottnest Island but seeing nothing different.  There were still a few Yellow-nosed Albatross quite close to the coast.

As we passed through the reef at Hillarys we had a brief detour to Little Island.  There were two Australian Sea-lions, plus many Pied Cormorants, a few gulls and terns.  We docked at about 15:20.

Thanks to the skipper Andrew and the deck hand Andrew.

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

07:10 S31 49.5, E115 43.6, 6m, 0.7km, 266 (Hillarys)
08:00 S31 57.7, E115 30.5, 30m, 26.2km, 237 (off Rottnest)
08:25 S32 01.2, E115 24.2, 59m, 38.0km, 238 (off West End)
08:55 S32 02.8, E115 16.1, 130m, 50.4km, 243
09:40 S32 01.4, E115 10.3, 400m, 57.5km, 250 (first stop until 09:55)
10:50 S32 04.2, E115 04.4, 540m, 68.2km, 248 (stopped until 11:30)
12:35 S32 00.6, E115 13.3, 194m, 52.5km, 249 (stopped until 13:25)

Bird List (Christidis & Boles order) :

Cape Petrel (1)
Great-winged Petrel (5)
Soft-plumaged Petrel (15)
Hutton's Shearwater (300+)
Little Shearwater (1)
Black-browed Albatross (1)
Shy Albatross (4)
Yellow-nosed Albatross (race bassi) (200+)
White-faced Storm-Petrel (3)
Australasian Gannet (80)
Great Skua (10)
Silver Gull (60)
Crested Tern (15)
Fairy Tern (4)
Galah (4)

Darter (4) harbour & Little island
Little Pied Cormorant (2) harbour
Pied Cormorant (150+) harbour & Little Island
Silver Gull (20+) harbour & Little Island
Caspian Tern (1) Little Island
Crested Tern (6) Little Island
Welcome Swallow (6) harbour & just outside

Mammal List :

Whale sp. (3)
Bottle-nose Dolphin (5)
Australian Sea-lion (2) Little Island

Next Trip :

The next trip is on Sunday September 20th 1998.  There are one or two places still available.  The cost is $65.  The first trip for 1999 is expected to be early to mid May.

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

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