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, 29 January 2017

Sunshine Coast Pelagic January 2017

White-tailed Tropicbird
White-tailed Tropicbird, Red-footed Booby and Streaked Shearwater were the highlights of what proved to be excellent pelagic trip off Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast on Saturday January 28, 2017.

Sooty Tern
The January pelagic had been postponed three times due to weather so we were pleased to finally depart Mooloolaba Marina at 6.35am on a warm day with a final drizzle early, a water temperature of 26 and a forecast of light to moderate E-SE winds, which proved to be the case as the day progressed. We negotiated a healthy 1.5m swell heading eastwards and soon began picking up large numbers of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters.

Streaked Shearwater
Half-way out we spotted our first Streaked Shearwater for the day in 50m.

Streaked Shearwater with Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and 1 Flesh-footed Shearwater (far right)
It was sitting on the water among a raft of shearwaters which included a single Flesh-footed Shearwater. A Hutton's Shearwater also flew by.

Hutton's Shearwater
We were to see six more Streaked Shearwaters on our way out along with a few Sooty Terns before reaching the continental shelf at about 8.50am.

Flesh-footed Shearwater
We began laying a berley trail in 135m - 26, 38, 698 S; 153, 36, 008 E - 26 nautical miles from shore. A light breeze of 5-7 knots was a bit of a worry but it was coming from the right direction and it picked up as the day wore on. We soon spotted our 8th and last Streaked Shearwater for the day.

Sooty Tern juvenile
Wedge-tailed Shearwaters continued to be plentiful and were joined by an occasional Flesh-footed Shearwater. More Sooty Terns, both adults and young, were about the boat and we chalked up quite a few before the day was out. The first Tahiti Petrel of the day made a belated appearance.

Tahiti Petrel
After a short time we decided to head further out to 32 nautical miles offshore in 310m. The numbers of Tahiti Petrels picked up markedly and they remained about the boat, along the obligate Wedgies, while we were out on the shelf.

Pomarine Jaeger
A Pomarine Jaeger came in to inspect the goings-on; a total of 5 being logged for the day. While out wide we were also distracted by non-birdy Blue Buttons (Porpita porpita) floating on the surface.

Red-footed Booby
A subadult light phase Red-footed Booby flew past and behind the boat and while not as close or inquisitive as we would have liked, this species is always a welcome addition to the list.  The smattering of Sooty Terns were joined by a couple of Common Noddies before we turned around at 12.45pm to try our luck further in, which looked so promising on the way out.

White-tailed Tropicbird
Our skipper Paddy spotted a subadult White-tailed Tropicbird sitting on the water about half-way back - another sought after South-East Queensland rarity.

Brown Booby with Crested Tern
A Brown Booby was hanging around one of several fishing trawlers out for the day. Heading in we saw a few more Hutton's Shearwaters and some Common Terns, arriving back at the marina at 3pm. Many thanks to Nikolas, Raja and Helmut for going the extra mile in helping to sort out our berley supply for the day.

PARTICIPANTS: Paddy Dimond (skipper),  Greg Roberts (organiser), Adrian Brooks, Mike Bysouth, Phil Cross, Jo Culican, Steve Grainger, Nikolas Haass, Guohualing Huang, Sreekar Rachokonda, Helmut Schaider, Raja Stephenson, Paul Walbridge, Jamie Walker.

SPECIES Total for Day (Total at any one time)

Wedge-tailed Shearwater 250 (40)
Flesh-footed Shearwater 5 (1)
Hutton's Shearwater 6 (2)
Streaked Shearwater 8 (2)
Tahiti Petrel 50 (12)
Pomarine Jaeger 5 (1)
Crested Tern 30 (10)
Common Tern 40 (20)
Little Tern 1 (1)
Sooty Tern 30 (4)
Common Noddy 3 (2)
White-tailed Tropicbird 1 (1)
Brown Booby 1 (1)
Red-footed Booby 1 (1)

Offshore Bottle-nosed Dolphin 15 (6)

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