Perth Western Australia Pelagic Trip Report Sunday 5th September 1999

Participants (22) :

Frank O'Connor (organiser), Des Agnew, Pam Agnew, Hazel Darnell, John Darnell, Ricky Fairhead, Michael Mathieson (Qld), Bill McAtee, Roger McGovern, Dave Odell (UK), Tony Palliser (NSW), Frank Platell, Ian Puckrin (NSW), Ian Reid (UK), Chris Reidy, Diane Reidy, Bill Rutherford, Wladyslaw Sarafin, Nigel Sutherland, Roger Sutherland, Robert Wilton, Alex Watson

Conditions :

Departed Hillarys Boat Harbour at 7.00am - returned at 3.15pm.  The forecast was for a 0.8 metre sea on a 2.5 to 3 metre swell dropping, after 100 kph southerly gales on Thursday and early Friday had created 4.5 metre swells.  The day was fine with a cold minimum of 4 degrees as we left and a forecast maximum of 18 degrees.  The forecast wind was 5 to 8 knots from the north east, switching to 8 to 12 knots from the south west.  The day was very flat with very little wind.

Description :

This was an excellent trip although there were very few petrels early.  The highlight were repeated views of an Arctic Tern plus a Minke Whale.  The shearwaters had returned early as well as a couple of semi distant Roseate Terns.  Two sightings of Humpback Whale were other highlights.

The day started out slowly as usual with two Great Skuas, a few Australasian Gannets and a Yellow-nosed Albatross as we headed to Rottnest Island.  An unusual sighting was four Galahs flying towards Rottnest Island plus a few flying fish.  The first stop was for three Humpback Whale close to Rottnest.  There were good numbers of Yellow-nosed Albatross as we passed Rottnest Island and we saw our first Shy Albatross, plus a couple of Roseate Terns.

As we approached the west end of Rottnest we saw some Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and our first Flesh-footed Shearwaters which were common throughout the day.  An adult Fairy Tern flew over the boat with two more semi distant.

We headed west seeing more Shy Albatross and the first Great-winged Petrels although the latter did not come as close as usual.  We headed towards a large flock of birds which included many Flesh-footed Shearwaters, Australasian Gannets and Yellow-nosed Albatross.  We began to burley with lamb fat, pilchards, chicken pellets, pollard and fish oil which brought in a few birds including the first Black-browed Albatross which did not stay long.

We headed west looking for petrels and stopped in over 500 metres depth but only attracted one Soft-plumaged Petrel. Black-browed Albatross became more common.  We stopped a couple more times before some petrels finally came in including the first Cape Petrels and White-faced Storm-Petrels.  We stopped for lunch just after midday which proved to be the best stop of the day with eight Cape Petrels, six Black-browed Albatross and the highlight of the day an Arctic Tern.  It flew around the boat a number of times giving opportunities for photographs.

We headed back for Hillarys with a stop for a whale for a Minke Whale.  Notes were taken.  It circled the boat a couple of times and gave good views.

It was an incredibly calm day given the storms only 48 hours earlier.  The numbers of petrels were lower than expected but we saw many albatross including more Shy and Black-browed Albatross and the range of species was the best of any previous trip.

Ian Reid took some photographs which he scanned on to his web pages at

Thanks to the skipper Trevor and the deck hand Dave.

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

07:05 S31 49' 34", E115 44' 16", 6m, 0.0km, 0 (Hillarys Wharf)
08:15 S31 58' 24", E115 28' 14", ??m, 30.0km, 240 (Humpback Whales)
08:30 S32 00' 02", E115 26' 10", 45m, 34.4km, 238 (stopped until 08:45)
09:00 S32 00' 35", E115 20' 34", 98m, 42.5km, 244
09:20 S32 00' 08", E115 14' 49", 155m, 50.2km, 250 (Bottle-nosed Dolphins)
09:40 S32 00' 03", E115 10' 23", 500+m, 56.7km, 252 (stopped until 10:05)
10:20 S31 59' 51", E115 07' 18", 530m, 61.1km, 254 (stopped until 10:50)
11:10 S31 55' 45", E115 07' 22", 500+m, 59.1km, 261 (stopped until 11:35)
12:05 S31 52' 34", E115 05' 18", 350m, 61.5km, 267 (stopped until 13:15)

Bird List (Christidis & Boles order) :

Cape Petrel 16 (8)
Great-winged Petrel 15 (3)
Soft-plumaged Petrel 15 (3)
Wedge-tailed Shearwater 10 (5)
Flesh-footed Shearwater 200+ (80)
Black-browed Albatross 15 (6)
Shy Albatross 9 (2)
Yellow-nosed Albatross (race bassi) 185 (55)
White-faced Storm-Petrel 7 (4)
Australasian Gannet 50 (30)
Great Skua 6 (3)
Silver Gull 40 (20)
Crested Tern 25 (20)
Roseate Tern 2 (2)
Arctic Tern 1 (1)
Fairy Tern 3 (3)

Little Pied Cormorant harbour
Little Black Cormorant harbour
Pied Cormorant outside harbour
Silver Gull harbour
Galah (4)
Willie Wagtail harbour
Welcome Swallow (2) harbour

Mammal List :

Bottle-nose Dolphin (6)
Humpback Whale (4)
Minke Whale (1)
Australian Sea-lion (3) Little Island

Next Trip :

The next trips will be April/May, late June and late August 2000.  For details contact Frank O'Connor on 08 9386 5694 or email

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