Sunshine Coast Birds

Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Sunshine Coast Pelagic Trip December 2014

Black Petrel
A Black Petrel and good numbers of Tahiti Petrel were the highlights of a pelagic trip off Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast on Saturday December 6, 2014. Conditions were calm as we departed the Mooloolaba Marina at 6.30am but we soon encountered the swell associated with several days of stiff northerlies off the coast as we headed east.

Black Petrel

Black Petrel
A few Wedge-tailed Shearwaters were all that we encountered before arriving at the edge of the shelf at 9am in 300 metres, 32 nautical miles offshore (26.36.76'S: 153.43.70'E). It remained overcast and warm (maximum 30 degrees) for the day with frequent showers, a swell of 1.3-1.6 metres, and a steady northerly blowing at 14-16 knots, gusting to 20 knots at times.

Black Petrel

Black Petrel
We saw our first Tahiti Petrel as soon as began laying a trail of shark liver berley. Others appeared soon after and good numbers of Tahiti Petrels were about the boat for the rest of the time we were on the shelf. We drifted in a south-easterly direction with the current.

Tahiti Petrel
At about 11am a Black Petrel appeared over the boat. The first of its species to be seen on a Sunshine Coast pelagic, the bird was to come and go over the next hour. Interestingly, the petrel - possibly a first year bird - had an aluminium band on its right leg. The only other birds seen off the shelf were Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and an occasional Crested Tern.

Tahiti Petrel

Tahiti Petrel
A nice pod of 4 Short-finned Pilot Whales circuited the boat a couple of times and a Manta Ray appeared on the surface. We drifted 6 nautical miles and were 34nm offshore when we started heading back at 12.30pm, a little earlier than planned due to the unsettled conditions.

Short-finned Pilot Whale
Large numbers of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and a pod of Offshore Bottle-nosed Dolphins were seen on our way back. We returned to the marina at 3pm.

PARTICIPANTS: Lachlan Tuckwell (skipper), Greg Roberts (organiser), Louise Ashton, Sarah Beavis, Karen Blake, Chris Burwell, Jo Culican, Kim Cumes, Rachel Cumes, Pieter de Groot Boersma, Janine de La Begassiere, Nikolas Haass, Christine Heisler, Elliot Leach.

SPECIES: Total (Maximum at One Time)

Black Petrel 1 (1)
Tahiti Petrel 60 (12)
Wedge-tailed Shearwater 200 (30)
Crested Tern 6 (2)
Pied Cormorant 2 (1)

Short-finned Pilot Whale 4 (3)
Offshore Bottle-nosed Dolphin 6 (4)

No comments:

Post a Comment