Participants (20) :
Frank O'Connor, Sue Abbotts, Sam de Beer, Maureen Cawley, Ted Cawley, Alan Collins, Wes Cooper, Stewart Ford, Greg Howell, Pat Kelly, Heyn de Koek, Maris Lauva, John Lillywhite, Adrienne Markey, Paul Marty, Robyn Pickering, Mark Stanley, Peter Taylor, Mark Walker, Gavin White.
highlights of the trip were an Atlantic Yellow-nosed
Albatross, several Black-browed Albatross
and an obliging Cape Petrel. The chum and
fish oil worked well at bringing the birds in close, giving excellent
opportunities for photography. The diversity was good, with 10 pelagic
Hillarys we headed roughly WSW heading for the trench NW of Rottnest Island.
There were a few Australasian Gannets, Crested
Terns, a number of Hutton’s Shearwaters
were seen including a couple which make close passes of the boat. The
first of the Great-winged Petrels started to
follow the boat, a White-faced Storm-Petrel was
spotted and a few Yellow-nosed Albatross were
concentration of Soft-plumaged Petrels made us
slow down and we start to chum, laying out an oil slick and burley trail whilst
motoring slowly at 5 knots. The birds were attracted to the slick but
dropped to the water some distance from the boat. We decided to stop the
boat and although the heavy swell made for rocky conditions, it was well worth
it as the birds started to congregate around the boat.
number of Yellow-nosed Albatross increased with
up to 40 around the boat, Soft-plumaged Petrels increased
and were joined by a few Great-winged Petrels and
a Brown Skua.
“grey headed” Yellow-nosed Albatross was seen amongst the throng and the
possibility of an Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross
was discussed (subsequent photos have proved this to be the case). This is
only the second record of this species on the Hillarys pelagic, the first being
seen in July 1997.
juvenile Black-browed Albatross came in to feed
and was subsequently joined by 2 others. A Flesh-footed
Shearwater was a surprise as this species usually spends the winter in
the Arabian Sea, returning later in the year.
As the number of birds attracted to the chum increased, a Cape Petrel came to join in and a number of White-faced Storm-Petrels gave fleeting views, often lost behind the swell.
we were about to head back, a Southern Giant Petrel
flew in and fed on the bag of chum. The return journey was quiet although we
noted a few more Hutton’s Shearwaters and Brown
Skuas and we stopped for close views of a pod of Bottlenose
In summary, we had a good selection of pelagic species with excellent views of a number of species including Southern Giant-Petrel, Cape Petrel and an Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross (possibly only the 4th recorded in Australian waters).
Thanks to John Darnell for mixing most of the chum prior to the trip.
Bird List (Christidis & Boles order) Total Number (Maximum at Same Time) :
Black-browed Albatross 3 (3) (immatures)
Yellow-nosed Albatross (race chlororhynchos) 1 (1)
Yellow-nosed Albatross (race bassi) 60 (40)
Southern Giant-Petrel 1 (1)
Cape Petrel 1 (1)
Flesh-footed Shearwater 2 (1)
Hutton’s Shearwater 20 (8)
Soft-plumaged Petrel 50 (15)
Great-winged Petrel 15 (3)
Australasian Gannet 30 (8) (4 immatures)
Brown Skua 3 (2)
Mammal List :
Humpback Whale (Megaptera
novaeangliae) 2 (2)
Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) 10 (10)
|© Copyright Frank O'Connor 1997-2009||Visits||Last Modified 4th August 2009|