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.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Sunshine Coast Pelagic January 2018

Grey Noddy
Grey Noddy, Streaked Shearwater, Gould's Petrel, White-tailed Tropicbird and sharks up close and personal were the highlights of an excellent Sunshine Coast pelagic on Sunday January 7, 2018.
We departed Mooloolaba Marina at 6.40am under sunny skies which were the order of the day with a maximum temperature of 30 C, a swell of half a metre, and a gentle easterly breeze that struggled to get beyond 5-8 knots. Normally such smooth seas would not bode well but this was one of those days when we were blessed with the delightfully unexpected.

Wedge-tailed Shearwaters
We had a few small groups of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters as we headed east with a smattering of Hutton's Shearwaters and a single Flesh-footed Shearwater among them.

Hutton's Shearwater
We weren't two-thirds of the way to the shelf, 20 nautical miles offshore, when we saw a Cookilaria-type Pteredroma petrel somewhat distantly. Luckily Chris Wiley managed a few unavoidably blurry images and we were able to confirm it as a Gould's Petrel. An excellent start to the day.

Gould's Petrel - Pic by Chris Wiley
With several delays to check out the shearwater flocks we stopped off the shelf at 9.35am, 34 nautical miles out in 350 metres (26.4034S, 153.4253E) and began laying a berley trail. It wasn't long before we saw a Tahiti Petrel, surprisingly the only one for the day.

Dusky Whaler Shark
We saw a Brown Booby distantly and a few Wedge-tailed Shearwaters sailed past. A couple of Dolphin Fish and at least three Dusky Whaler sharks entertained us at the back of the boat as they snapped up the berley.

Pomarine Jaeger
A White-tailed Tropicbird, again annoyingly distant, brightened up the day as it became obvious in the late morning that the forecast 10-15 knot easterly was not going to eventuate. We had a couple of Pomarine Jaegers put in an appearance before we decided to head west, laying a second berley trail in 90 metres 20 nautical miles offshore.

Grey Noddy

Grey Noddy
Not much else turned up so we began heading back slowly, a course which proved to be highly productive. Just 12 nautical miles offshore in 50 metres we found a Grey Noddy in a feeding flock of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and were able to follow the bird for some time. This was a first for a Sunshine Coast pelagic and a lifer for quite a few.

Streaked Shearwater
Not long afterwards we spotted a Streaked Shearwater sitting on the water amid another flock of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters; another nice one under the belt.

Common Tern & White-winged Tern
As we headed back in we saw a mixed flock of Common Terns and White-winged Terns, returning to the marina at 3.45pm. Once again everyone was impressed with the comforts and utility of Crusader 1 - operated by Sunshine Coast family company Sunshine Coast Afloat - and the efforts of crew members Toby and Zoe. Elist.


Gould's Petrel 1 (1)
Wedge-tailed Shearwater 200 (60)
Flesh-footed Shewarater 1 (1)
Hutton's Shearwater 9 (6)
Streaked Shearwater 1 (1)
Tahiti Petrel 1 (1)
Brown Booby 1 (1)
White-tailed Tropicbird 1 (1)
Pomarine Jaeger 3 (1)
Crested Tern 15 (3)
Grey Noddy 1 (1)
Common Tern 4 (4)
White-winged Tern 8 (8)

Offshore Bottle-nosed Dolphin 6 (3)

PARTICIPANTS:  Greg Roberts (organiser),  Toby Imhoff (skipper),  Zoe Williams (deckhand), 
Margie Baker,  Tony Baker,  Scott Baker,  Sarah Beavis,  Luke Bennett,  Julian Corlet,  Ken Cross,  Phil Cross,  Jessica Drake,  Alex Ferguson,  Steve Grainger,  John Gunning,  Nikolas Haass,  Mary Hynes,  Bob James,  James Martin,  Bernie O'Keefe,  Maggie Overend,  Jim Sneddon,  Raja Stephenson,  Chris Watts,  Chris Wiley. 

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