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, 6 November 2017

Sunshine Coast Pelagic - November 5, 2017

Short-tailed Shearwater flock
We departed Mooloolaba Marina for the Sunshine Coast Pelagic on Sunday November 5, 2017 at 6.40am with tempered expectations in view of the forecast 10-knot south-easterly. A good start was a Wandering Tattler on the breakwater rocks as we left the Mooloolah River.

We noted as we headed east that numbers of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters were low. Given that we pass through waters off Mudjimba Island, which hosts an important nesting population - 2700 burrows were recorded in 1997 - this is cause for concern. We saw several flocks of Short-tailed Shearwaters, all of which were determinedly heading in a southerly direction.

Mudjimba Island
We stopped to lay a berley trail at 9.20am 32 nautical miles offshore in 300 fathoms: 26.4009S, 153.4190E. A fine, sunny day prevailed (max 29) with a 1.5m swell. However, there was no wind, not even a breeze. If there is one thing worse that the dreaded northerlies on these trips, it is no wind at all. I can remember just a handful occasions previously where there has been zero wind all day. Unfortunately, that was our lot this day.

Wedge-tailed Shearwater
A Wilson's Storm-Petrel appeared after 30 minutes but little more, so we ventured further out to 500 fathoms 36nm offshore. It made no difference bird-wise, although we did attract several decent-sized sharks, which appeared to be Bronze Whalers. A handful of Wilson's Storm-Petrels and small numbers of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and Crested Terns were all the birds we saw before we turned around at 12.30pm. We tried our luck again with a third berley trail in 250 fathoms before heading back at 12.50pm.

Wilson's Storm-Petrel
A dark phase Arctic Jaeger, a pod of Short-beaked Common Dolphins, and several more flocks of Short-tailed Shearwaters were of interest on the way in. We returned to the marina at 3.30pm. Once again, all aboard were impressed with the comforts and space of our boat, Crusader 1, run by Sunshine Coast family company Sunshine Coast Afloat.

PARTICIPANTS: Greg Roberts (organiser), Toby Imhoff (skipper), Zoe Williams (deckhand),
Margie Baker, Tony Baker, Devon Bull, Locky Cordell, Phil Cross, Jo Culinan, Alex Ferguson, John Gunning, Nikolas Haass, Barrie Harding, John Houssenloge, Mary Hynes, Elliot Leach, James Martin, Maggie Overend, Steve Popple, Carol Popple, Andrew Sides-McHugh, Mary Sides-McHugh, Raja Stephenson, Kevin Webb

SPECIES: Total (Max at one time)
Wilson's Storm Petrel 7 (3)
Wedge-tailed Shearwater 20 (4)
Short-tailed Shearwater 200 (40)
Silver Gull 2 (1)
Crested Tern 15 (4)
Arctic Jaeger 1 (1)

Short-beaked Common Dolphin 6 (6)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to all those who sahred their expertise on avian and marine fauna. It made the trip interesting despite the low species count. We couldn't believe the beautiful clear blue seas to east of continental shelf as we peered into 500 fathoms of water.