We departed Mooloolaba Marina at 6.25am on Sunday November 11, 2018 under sunny skies with an unusually cool south-easterly (for this time of year) that kept up for the rest of the day at 10-15 knots. As we headed east we encountered a few small groups of migrating Short-tailed Shearwaters heading south and several Wedge-tailed Shearwaters before coming across an unusual congregation of four Pomarine Jaegers over the Barwon Banks.
|Pomarine Jaeger flock|
We stopped over the shelf at 9am in 600m, 32 nautical miles offshore (26.42.645 S; 153.42.689E), where we began laying a berley trail. A mild swell of about a metre and a small chop in the sea with steady winds made for pleasant conditions. We saw our first Providence Petrel shortly before stopping and quite a few were about out there, although it is getting late in the year for this species.
We had a new berley mix with extra tuna oil and finely chopped chicken skins that float well. We soon had a good slick behind the boat which was checked out by the odd Wilson's Storm-Petrel. The birds generally however did not appear to be hungry.
We saw more Short-tailed and Wedge-tailed shearwaters as the morning progressed and a Sooty Tern turned up.
We had just two Tahiti Petrels for the day, a surprisingly small tally. Also of interest was the very small number of Crested Terns.
Another Pomarine Jaeger showed before we turned around at 12.30pm after drifting 4 nautical miles to 350m. We stopped a couple of times on the way back to try our luck. We had a couple of Brown Boobies perched atop a trawler and a single Flesh-footed Shearwater, along with more Short-tailed and Wedge-tailed Shearwaters. We returned to the marina at 3.25pm.
PARTICIPANTS: Paul Beer (skipper), Zoe Williams (deckhand), Greg Roberts (organiser),
Louis Backstrom, Margie Baker, Tony Baker, Jane Cooksley, Jo Culican, Robyn Duff, Cecile Espigole, Paul Fraser, Richard Fuller, John Gunning, Nikolas Haass, Christian Haass, James Hermans, Andy Jensen, Sel Kerans, James Martin, William Price, Trevor Ross, Esme Ross, Raja Stephenson, Carolyn Stewart.
SPECIES: TOTAL (Maximum at one time)
Providence Petrel 25 (4)
Tahiti Petrel 2 (1)
Short-tailed Shearwater 80 (20)
Wedge-tailed Shearwater 30 (3)
Flesh-footed Shearwater 1 (1)
Wilson's Storm-Petrel 12 (3)
Brown Booby 2 (2)
Pomarine Jaeger 5 (1)
Pomarine Jaeger 5 (1)
Sooty Tern 1 (1)
Crested Term 2 (1)
Offshore Bottle-nosed Dolphin 3 (2)