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, 20 March 2016

Sunshine Coast Pelagic Trip March 2016

Pomarine Jaeger
It was with a sense of foreboding that we departed Mooloolaba Marina at 6.45am (a late start due to lost souls) for the March 19, 2016 pelagic trip off the Sunshine Coast. The weather forecast accorded with the pattern for the day: a gentle northerly breeze under cloudless skies that struggled to exceed 5-8 knots. Not ideal conditions for pelagic birds.

Pomarine Jaeger
A pair of Welcome Swallows 14nm offshore was unexpected. Little else was seen on the way out other than a few small flocks of Common Terns close in. We reached the shelf in just over 2 hours and began laying a trail of shark liver burley 33nm offshore at a depth of 363m: 26.36.035S, 153.43.645E; with a swell of 1-1.5m. We were soon joined by small numbers of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and Tahiti Petrels, which remained in view for most of the time we were off the shelf.

Tahiti Petrel
We drifted 2.5nm east to 683m, with a White-faced Heron another unexpected surprise so far offshore. Small numbers of Flesh-footed Shearwaters joined the Wedge-taileds. With conditions not improving and a hoped for south-easterly change failing to eventuate, we moved inshore to 530m, laying another burley trail and drifting a further 1nm.

Wedge-tailed Shearwater
A nice Pomarine Jaeger enlivened proceedings. We headed back soon after 1pm, seeing some Hutton's Shearwaters on the way in, including a flock of 8. We arrived back at the marina at 3.20pm.

Participants: Lachlan Tuckwell (skipper), Greg Roberts (organser), Tony Baker, Margaret Baker, Sarah Beavis, Devon Bull, Phil Cross, John Gunning, Bob James, Wayne Lock, Colleen Lock, Andrew Naumann, Robert Shore, Jamie Walker.

Species (Total maximum at one time):

Wedge-tailed Shearwater 50 (6)
Flesh-footed Shearwater 4 (1)
Hutton's Shearwater 12 (8)
Tahiti Petrel 20 (4)
Crested Tern 30 (10)
Common Tern 40 (15)
Pomarine Jaeger 1 (1)
Pied Cormorant 4 (2)
White-faced Heron 1 (1)
Welcome Swallow 2 (2)


  1. Looks awesome, I've never been on a pelagic trip before so al those birds would be new for me! Also, do you know roughly when the waders finish migrating out because I hope I'm not too late!

    1. There are still plenty of waders around though they are going fast