Albany Western Australia Pelagic Trip Report Saturday 3rd October 2009

Participants (17) :

Alan Collins (organiser), Frank O'Connor (organiser), Sue Abbotts, Claire Bartron, Mike Craig, Xenia Dennett (Victoria), Stewart Ford, John Graff, John Lilywhite, Kath Lindann, Matt Love, Simon Nevill, Mark Stanley, Anna Steenhuizen, Andrew Sutherland, Derek Taylor, Bill Watson (NSW)

Conditions :

Departed Emu Point Boat Harbour at 7.10am. Returned at 4.15pm.  There had been a small cold front pass through overnight.  The conditions were lumpy, although the wave height was less than three metres.  The wind was about 15 knots for much of the day, but conditions improved during the day.  The water temperature was 16C to 18C.

Description :

This was the first of two trips for the weekend.  Hopes were high following the passage of the front overnight.  It was a very good trip, but no major rarities were seen.  Two Bridled Terns seen briefly on the way back and a 'Comic' Tern seen at the deepest stop were the main highlight.  It was interesting that some Hutton's Shearwaters were still present, and a Little Shearwater was seen by a few.

It was about two and a half hours to the shelf.  Things were quiet as expected until we cleared the outer heads.  We stopped briefly to check a Salvin's Albatross and later a Northern Giant-Petrel but they didn't approach the boat.  Several Hutton's Shearwaters were seen on the way out.

We set up a burley trail when we arrived at the continental shelf and made our first stop at 430 metres in the canyon.  There were Yellow-nosed Albatross and Flesh-footed Shearwaters present at all times.  There were visits by Great-winged Petrels, Cape Petrels, Shy Albatross, White-faced Storm-Petrels and finally a Wandering Albatross.  After an hour we had drifted back in to 180 metres and so we decided to move further east.

We stopped at 500 metres and burleyed again.  We stayed for an hour.  We had regular visits by several Wandering Albatross, but otherwise it was similar to the first stop.

We returned to the canyon and went deeper to 785 metres where we stayed for 45 minutes.  No birds had followed the boat, and so it was interesting to see the numbers slowly build up.  The main bird of interest was a 'Comic' Tern that passed about 100 metres from the boat.

We headed back.  We saw an adult Black-browed Albatross, followed later by two immatures.  A Little Shearwater was seen by a few people.  We briefly stopped to check a few terns feeding about 100 metres from the boat.  There were two Bridled Terns.  This is the first record for an Albany pelagic, but they have been recorded as far east as the Recherche Archipeligo east of Esperance.

It was a good trip overall, but none of the less common petrels or albatross other than the brief view of a Salvin's.

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

White-faced Storm-Petrel 8 (8)
Wandering Albatross (race exulans) 7 (4)
Black-browed Albatross (race melanophris) 3 (2) (1 adult, 2 immatures)
Shy Albatross (race cauta) 9 (2) (immatures)
Shy Albatross (race salvini) 1 (1) (immature)
Yellow-nosed Albatross (race bassi) 40 (14)
Northern Giant-Petrel 1 (1)
Cape Petrel 10 (3)
Flesh-footed Shearwater 500 (50)
Hutton's Shearwater 6 (2)
Little Shearwater 1 (1)
Great-winged Petrel 20 (5)
Australasian Gannet 4 (12)
"Comic" Tern 1 (1)
Bridled Tern 2 (1)

Mammal List :

Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) 2 (1)
Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) 4 (4)

Next Trip :

There are no Albany trips specifically planned at this stage, but after the success of this trip it is hoped that more  trips could be organised next year during the period of May to August.  For details contact Frank O'Connor on 08 9386 5694 or email foconnor@iinet.net.au

Copyright Frank O'Connor 1997-2009 Visits Last Modified 9th October 2009