Albany Western Australia Pelagic Trip Report Sunday 4th March 2007

Participants (15) :

Phil Maher (organiser NSW), Frank O'Connor (recorder), Darryel Binns (NT), Alan Collins, Betty Fowler (Belgium), Belinda Forbes, Cecilia Grant, Don Jennings (Vic), Rhonda Jennings (Vic), Brian Johnstone (Vic), Heyn de Koek (South Africa), Peter Marsh (NSW), Robin Marsh (NSW), Mark Stanley, Peter Taylor

Conditions :

Departed Emu Point Boat Harbour at 7.15am. Returned at 4.10pm.  The forecast was fine and partly cloudy with a light SE wind and a 1.5 metre swell and a 1 metre sea.  The winds were light in the morning, strengthening in the afternoon.  The sea conditions were good, choppy at times with a few significant waves up to three metres mainly near the heads.

Description :

This was a very good trip but slow at times except for large numbers of Flesh-footed Shearwaters and Yellow-nosed Albatross.  The boat was the Chivers Regal II, a 45ft boat operated by Spinners Charters.  The trip was organised by Phil Maher as part of a tour of the south west.

It was about two and a half hours to the shelf.  Things were quiet until we cleared the outer heads.  We saw the first few Flesh-footed Shearwaters before we cleared the heads.  Shortly after we cleared the heads we saw the first Yellow-nosed Albatross and Australasian Gannets.  A Hutton's Shearwater flew past in the mid distance, and a Little Penguin was seen very briefly on the surface.

We set up a burley trail when we arrived at the continental shelf.  The numbers of Flesh-footed Shearwaters and Yellow-nosed Albatross grew quickly.  It was a while before an adult and then an immature Black-browed Albatross arrived.  A Sooty Shearwater was seen very briefly.  After an hour we relocated to deeper waters and burleyed again.  The first adult Shy Albatross flew by but didn't join the feeding flock on the water.  A Great-winged Petrel.  We relocated again slightly deeper and stayed for nearly two hours.  We had better views of Great-winged Petrels.  A Wandering Albatross was seen but it kept its distance.

We headed back.  Several Hutton's Shearwaters were seen, and a Soft-plumaged Petrel was seen in the mid distance.  We stopped as a Northern Giant-Petrel flew in and landed behind the boat for photographs.  As we were passing through the heads, a Short-tailed Shearwater was seen, looking smaller than the Flesh-footed Shearwaters.

Time (WDT) /Latitude/Longitude/Depth of most stoppages:

07:30 S34 59' 57", E117 56' 56" (Emu Point Channel)
08:10 S35 06' 13", E118 01' 46" (near heads)
08:20 S35 08' 15", E118 03' 31"   80m (Little Penguin, 1st Hutton's Shearwater)
09:55 S35 22' 17", E118 08' 03" 150m to 400m (1st stop)
11:05 S35 23' 23", E118 09' 09" 600m (2nd stop)
11:50 S35 25' 02", E118 09' 17" 800m (3rd stop)
14:10 S35 15' 55", E118 06' 06" (Soft-plumaged Petrel, Hutton's Shearwater)
15:00 S35 09' 36", E118 03' 23" (Northern Giant-Petrel)

Bird List (Christidis & Boles order) Total Number (Maximum at Same Time) :

Little Penguin 1 (1)
Northern Giant-Petrel 1 (1)
Great-winged Petrel 9 (3)
Soft-plumaged Petrel 2 (1)
Flesh-footed Shearwater 1,000+ (300)
Sooty Shearwater 1 (1)
Short-tailed Shearwater 1 (1)
Hutton's Shearwater 8 (2)
Wandering Albatross (race chionoptera?) 2 (1)
Black-browed Albatross (race melanophris) 3 adults / 2 immatures (3)
Shy Albatross (race cauta) 2 adults (1)
Yellow-nosed Albatross (race bassi) 100 (40)
Australasian Gannet 30 (8)

Mammal List :

Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) 50 (20)

Next Trip :

There are no Albany trips planned at this stage, but this could change at fairly short notice.  For details contact Frank O'Connor on 08 9386 5694 or email foconnor@iinet.net.au

Copyright Frank O'Connor 1997-2007 Visits Last Modified 4th March 2007