Southport Pelagics (Paul Walbridge)

Sightings anywhere within a 250 km radius of Toowoomba, but excluding the local survey area (see above), for the period 1 Dec 2009 - 28 Feb 2010.

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Mick Atzeni
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Southport Pelagics (Paul Walbridge)

Post by Mick Atzeni » Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:19 pm

To: <birding-aus@vicnet.net.au>
Subject: Southport Pelagic 23 Jan 2010
From: "Paul Walbridge" <paul_walbridge@health.qld.gov.au>
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 2010 07:26:39 +1000


Southport Pelagic Trip Report 23rd January 2010


Vessel: M.V. Grinner
Skipper: Craig Newton
PAX: Paul Walbridge (Organizer & Leader) + 13.

Weather Conditions: A high situated over the southern Tasman formed a
ridge along the southern coast of Queensland extending northwards,
bringing light northwest to northeast winds into south Queensland
coastal waters. Light winds all day, mostly northerly, < 10 knots. Fine
conditions, occasional light cloud, visibility excellent. Maximum air
temp. 31* C, barometric pressure 1016 hPa.

Sea Conditions: Calm seas all day with the swell to 1 metre maximum.
Sea surface temps. 24.1* C on leaving the Seaway, rising to 27.7* C at
the Shelf-break & 28.2*C at the widest point in Slope waters. N*S
current at 3.5 knots out wide.

Summary: Set out from the Southport Seaway at 0625 hrs and headed ENE
to a system of caverns & ridges called the *Rivieras* approx. 26 nm
from Southport. Crossed over the Shelf-break at 0900 hrs, reaching the
final drift at the Rivieras at 1015 hrs. Headed slowly inshore at 1200
hrs, arriving back at the Seaway at 1610 hrs. Total duration of trip 9
hrs 45 mins.

On leaving the Seaway, several trawlers were returning home from a
nights work, so we took a rather zigzag approach over the first few
kilometres. Although quite a number of birds were following these boats,
these comprised of just mainly Silver Gulls, Crested Terns and a few
Pied Cormorants and Wedge-tailed Shearwaters. Heading out over the Shelf
was pretty quiet with one or two Pomarine Jaegers, an Arctic Jaeger and
occasional small rafts of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters.

At the 50 fathom mark we lowered the berley bag over the stern to put a
slick behind us for the tubenoses to pick up, although the distinct lack
of wind would not be a help. It wasn*t long however before the first
Flesh-footed Shearwaters & Wedge-tailed Shearwaters appeared, a few
kilometres before the Shelf-break. We had one brief stop for a few
minutes where we attracted large numbers of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and
small numbers of Flesh-footed.

On approaching the main drift point the first Tahiti Petrel of the day
appeared, along with a lone Common Noddy, followed by an immature
White-tailed Tropicbird a few minutes later, which drifted off slowly to
the north. Started the main drift at 1015 hrs and over the next hour or
so mainly Wedge-tailed and Flesh-footed Shearwaters present but at 1030
hrs a *dragon from the heavens* appeared, in the form of a female
Lesser Frigatebird. She put on quite a show over the next 15-20 minutes,
not particularly harassing the other birds but swooping low to pick up
offal from the sea surface before slowly circling high and disappearing
out of sight. The camera shutters were running hot!! An adult Sooty Tern
accompanied by a juvenile were the only new arrivals before we headed
slowly back to shore.

I*d like to thank a couple of pax on board for helping out on the
passage back but particularly one of our southern visitors, Nikolas
Haass (two lifers for the trip). Our skipper (Craig), who is minus a
deckie at the present time was preoccupied via radio and mobile re; a
rogue shark net off Main Beach, which we searched for to no avail, on
approaching the Seaway. Nikolas kept the berley up to the birds for the
duration of the trip back and made sure we had a constant flurry of
birds behind us, mostly Wedge-tailed Shearwaters but also up to four
Pomarine Jaegers.

Species:

White-tailed Tropicbird * 1 (imm)
Wilson*s Storm Petrel * 1
Wedge-tailed Shearwater * 377 (160)
Flesh-footed Shearwater * 15 (6)
Tahiti Petrel * 3 (2)
Lesser Frigatebird * 1
Pied Cormorant * 6
Pomarine Jaeger * 10 (4)
Arctic Jaeger * 2
Common Noddy * 1
Sooty Tern * 2
Crested Tern * 220 (150)
Silver Gull * 101 (100)

Mammals:

Inshore Bottlenose Dolphin * 18+
Offshore Bottlenose Dolphin * 4+

Fish:

Shark sps * 1
Mahi mahi * 4


The next Southport Pelagic is on the 20th February, spots are booking
fast but reserves are always welcome. Contact Paul Walbridge on 61 7
3256 4124 or e-mail

Paul_Walbridge@health.qld.gov.au

Cheers * Paul W.
As always, thanks to Paul for sharing his report.
Michael Atzeni
7 Woden St, Murphys Creek 4352
Mob: 0499 395 485

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