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 Jun - 31 Aug 2010.

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Mick Atzeni
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Southport Pelagics (Paul Walbridge)

Post by Mick Atzeni » Wed Jun 23, 2010 9:22 pm

Copy of Paul's Birding-Aus report quoted below with his blessing. Thanks Paul.
To: <birding-aus@vicnet.net.au>
Subject: Southport Pelagic 19th June 2010
From: "Paul Walbridge" <paul_walbridge@health.qld.gov.au>
Date: Mon, 21 Jun 2010 07:30:06 +1000

Hi All, below is the report for Saturdays Southport Pelagic;




Location:Southport, Qld.
Date:19/6/2010
Vessel:M.V. Grinner
Crew:Craig Newton (skipper)
Pax:Paul Walbridge (leader, organizer) Richard Fuller, Steve Murray,
Des Jackson, Gail Sherwin, Burnice Starkey, Mel Stewart, Brian Tynan,
Chris Watson, John Watson, Paul Watson, Guy Lewington, Micah Oberon,
Luca Oberon.

Weather conditions:
A trough with a strengthening ridge extending from the south brought
slightly unsettled conditions to south east Queensland with some cloud
and at times light showers. Mostly light, high cloud with the sun poking
through late morning, visibility reasonable early and improving as day
progressed. Wind S-SW, light early on, reaching a maximum of around 10
knots. Maximum air temp. 22*C, barometric pressure 1016 hPa.

Sea conditions:
Light seas early on equally light swell, gradually increasing to 1.5
metre swell out wide as wind increased. Sea surface temps. , 19.6* C at
the Seaway, rising just slightly to 21.5* C and to 23.1* C at widest
point.

Summary:

Departed from the Southport Seaway at 0705 hrs, crossing the
Shelf-break at 0945 hrs & reaching the first drift point at Jim*s
Mountain at 1010 hrs and second drift point, Mick*s Mountain at 1130
hrs approx. 37 nm ENE of the Seaway. Started back for home at 1230 hrs,
arriving back at the Seaway at 1615 hrs. Total duration of trip, 9 hrs
10 minutes.

On leaving the Seaway it soon became apparent the most numerous bird of
the day was going to be Australasian Gannet and mostly adult birds.
There were a few prawn trawlers returning and on approaching the first
one at 0735 hrs we were stunned to find 8 Indian Yellow-nosed
Albatrosses of varying ages following and feeding on the by-catch being
tossed over. This is the 2nd highest concentration recorded up here of
this species and a new bird for some so we stopped and tried to entice
them over for photos. This was to no avail however as the birds kept
following the trawler, the short distance back to the Seaway. There
was little else following this trawler as with the next one a short time
later so we continued on across the Shelf.

A few birds were encountered across the Shelf, mostly Gannets but also
the first Fairy Prion and Providence Petrel of the day but little else
until just after the Shelf-break where a large pod of Offshore
Bottlenose Dolphins and the sounder indicated prolific baitfish. We
continued on to our usual drift point at Jim*s mountain where a couple
of Common Noddies and Providence Petrels were foraging and stopped to
throw berley over. This proved rather fruitless however as we failed to
attract anything but one or two more Providence Petrels and there was
basically zero current and what little wind there was, didn*t help.
Craig the skipper however had received info during the week of a water
temp. spike, indicating current at Mick*s Mountain, 7 nm to the NE, a
spot we hadn*t visited before. This is an area where the *Slope*
rises from about 630 fathoms to less than 400 fathoms so we proceeded
on.

On arriving at* Micks* at 1130 hrs we noted a water temp.
convergence, a sudden rise of nearly 2* C & the presence of birds
changed dramatically. More Fairy Prions were present along with a lot
more Providence Petrels and Common Noddies were seen to work the
current, although as usual, paying no attention to the vessel. A
White-faced Storm-Petrel suddenly appeared, the second sighting this
year and not one I expected in winter. I encountered this species in
July last year off Ulladulla and there appears to be a change in
movements with this species on the east coast of Australia recently.
Shortly after, the first Black-bellied Storm Petrel appeared, followed
quickly by another. 1230 hrs and it was time to head home as we had
travelled a long way out. A couple more Black-bellied Storm-Petrels were
encountered whilst still in Slope waters, plus Providence Petrels and
Fairy Prions occasionally, on the way back in. On approaching the
Seaway, large numbers of Australasian Gannets were noted in several
rafts but also amongst them one or two Indian Yellow-nosed Albatrosses,
presumably the birds encountered earlier on, by now looking contented
and well fed and in no particular mood to fly unless approached too
close.

Species:

White-faced Storm-Petrel * 1
Black-bellied Storm-Petrel * 4 (2)
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross * 9 (8)
Fairy Prion * 8 (2)
Providence Petrel * 36 (10)
Australasian Gannet * 124 (50)
Common Noddy * 5 (2)
Crested Tern * 65 (60)
Silver Gull * 54 (40)

Mammals:

Humpback Whale * 4
Offshore Bottlenose Dolphin * 50+
Short-beaked Common Dolphin * 4+

The next pelagic is on 17th July with a few spaces still available.
Contact Paul Walbridge on;
(PH) (W) 07 3139 4555 (H) 07 3256 4124.
E-Mail - Paul_Walbridge@health.qld.gov.au

Cheers - Paul W.
Michael Atzeni
7 Woden St, Murphys Creek 4352
Mob: 0499 395 485

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