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, 14 August 2016

Sunshine Coast Pelagic August 2016

Black-bellied Storm-Petrel
A pod of wonderful whales and a big fish were the stars of the show for the August 13 pelagic trip off Mooloolaba on the Sunsine Coast, with nice birds including Black-bellied Storm-Petrel, Masked Booby, Kermadec Petrel and good numbers of Sooty Tern.

Providence Petrel
We departed the marina on a crisp winter morning at 6.45am with a gentle 5-8 knot E-SE breeze that varied little during the day. A Fluttering Shearwater and a Brown Booby were seen early on the way out along with small numbers of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and Australasian Gannets. We reached the shelf at 9am, stopping 32 nautical miles offshore in 360 metres - S 26, 36, 075; E 153, 43, 477 - and began laying a trail of berley.

Wilson's Storm-Petrel
Small numbers of Providence Petrels and Wedge-tailed Shearwaters soon came into the slick, to be joined before long by a couple of Wilson's Storm-Petrels. The gentle breeze in a swell of under a metre did not bode well, but an intermediate phase Kermadec Petrel livened things up. After drifting slowly for a while be decided to move 1.5km eastwards to lay another berley trail.

Sooty Tern
A second intermediate phase Kermadec Petrel appeared, but both birds of this species kept their distance. A couple of Sooty Terns showed before we noticed in the distance what appeared to be a good flock of birds.

Hutton's Shearwaters
We headed towards it, encountering a decent flock of Hutton's Shearwaters. Feeding on what appeared to be schools of fish 37 nautical miles offshore in 900 metres were good numbers of Wedge-tailed and Hutton's Shearwaters along with an unusally solid number of Sooty Terns.

Black-bellied Storm-Petrel
A Black-bellied Storm-Petrel made a welcome appearance, soon to be joined by another. Then a large Manta Ray came to the boat and hovered close by for a while. We didn't know whether it was attracted to us or the berley, but several in the group donned a snorkel (water temperature a mild 21) to get a better look at the huge fish.  

Manta Ray Watching
Manta Ray
Another Brown Booby flew by as did a single Tahiti Petrel, a scarce visitor in winter.

Black-bellied Storm-Petrel
Not long before pulling up stumps, a booby/gannet appeared on the horizon. We thought at first it was too distant to identify, but later examination of Raja's photographs indicated it was a Masked Booby. As we were preparing to head back, a pod of Short-finned Pilot Whales turned up, entertaining us for some time as adults of both sexes and juveniles, clearly curious, circled the boat.  We turned around at 1pm, returning to the marina at 3.10pm.

Short-finned Pilot Whale
PARTICIPANTS: Lachlan Tuckwell (skipper), Greg Roberts (organiser), Luke Bennett, Devon Bull, Phil Cross, Jo Culican, Erin Donaldson, Rick Franks, John Gunning, Nikolas Haass, Elliot Leach, Raja Stephenson, Ged Tranter, Jamie Walker, Chris Watts.

Short-finned Pilot Whale


Kermadec Petrel 2 (1)
Providence Petrel 12 (4)
Tahiti Petrel 1 (1)
Wedge-tailed Shearwater 60 (20)
Hutton's Shearwater 80 (40)
Fluttering Shearwater 1 (1)
Black-bellied Storm-Petrel 2 (1)
Wilson's Storm-Petrel 10 (3)
Australasian Gannet 12 (5)
Brown Booby 2 (1)
Masked Booby 1 (1)
Sooty Tern 30 (14)
Crested Tern 20 (4)
Silver Gull 2 (2)

Short-finned Pilot Whale 10 (6)
Inshore Bottle-nosed Dolphin 2 (2)
Pantropical Spotted Dolphin 1 (1)
Humpback Whale 2 (1)

1 comment:

  1. Lovely photos! Thank you so much for sharing, and warm greetings from Montreal, Canada. :)