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Sydney pelagic 19th November 2017 (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
I organised a very successful pelagic out of Sydney recently with some great birds seen. Trip report follows.

Sydney pelagic 19th November 2017

The regular November Sydney pelagic had been cancelled due to the unavailability of MV Avalon on our regular date. Spurred on by sightings of many rare seabirds along the east coast of Australia during early October, especially high numbers of Mottled petrels, a few keen Sydney seabirders decided to put on a last minute trip to try and connect with some of these pelagic goodies. Unfortunately, Roger McGovern our usual trip organiser and leader was away doing some outback birding and other regular Sydney pelagic organisers also away. We spoke with Roger and he was happy for us to organise a special one-off trip and gave us a lot of help and advice on planning the trip.

Within a few days of announcing the trip we had filled the boat with 7 people on the reserve list. Armed with 100 litres of fish waste soaked in Tuna oil we headed out of Sydney heads just past 7 am. After a few miles we encountered a few Wedge-tailed Shearwaters which quickly came in to feed behind the boat as we started chumming. As we continued out into deeper waters we had one Hutton’s shearwater and several Fluttering Shearwaters fly by plus a few Flesh-footed Shearwaters and a Pomarine jeager joined the frey of feeding Wedge-tailed Shearwaters behind the boat. Several small groups of Short-tailed shearwaters with the occasional Sooty shearwater motored south with only the odd Short-tailed Shearwater showing any interest in feeding. At about the 15 mile mark a shorebird was seen flying south close to the boat, good views and photographs revealed it to be a Ruddy turnstone. As we went down the shelf we slowed the boat down a little to help maintain and build our throng of feeding birds behind us as we entered deeper waters. The first Grey-faced petrel was seen along with an Antipodean Albatross (gibsoni) and then a Sooty tern was sighted right behind the boat. We continued slowly stopping just east of Brown’s mountain where we set up a large slick which we periodically motored back through. During this time we saw good numbers of Wilson’s storm-petrels along with a Black-bellied storm-petrel, a lifer for many on board and a great bird for NSW. A Gould’s Petrel created a bit of excitement but never came close to the boat while a Providence petrel fed in the slick allowing reasonable views. Just before heading for home a Dwarf minke whale was seen and as we turned for shore a Black petrel was spotted feeding right behind the boat, a lifer for one high listing Victorian birder on board.

The decision was made to head for shore a little early leaving a bit of time up our sleeves. This also meant we were able to leave deep water quite slowly at first to keep all the birds we had accumulated during the day in attendance behind the boat. This strategy paid off with a good number of birds continuing to follow the boat including the Black petrel and several Grey-faced petrels which following us for many miles well in shore. A Providence petrel followed the boat for a while, its fresh silvery plumage suggested it could be a recently fledge juvenile bird. Also seen on the way in were 2 Black-browed albatross and a Long-tailed jeager. Within a mile or two of the coast Silver gulls joined us and our flock of shearwaters dissipated before we headed into the harbour. The final tally of 22 bird species was a good total for November and good views of almost all species seen was enjoyed by all on board.

A few photos from the trip can be seen here


Species list


Wedge-tailed shearwater 300 (70)
Short-tailed Shearwater 100 (30)
Flesh-footed Shearwater 30 (7)
Hutton’s shearwater 1 (1)
Fluttering shearwater 10 (2)
Pomarine Jeager 3 (1)
Sooty shearwater 3 (1)
Grey-faced petrel 30 (8)
Antipodean albatross (gibsoni) 1 (1)
Wilson’s storm-petrel 15 (7)
Providence petrel 2 (1)
Sooty Tern 1 (1)
Gould’s Petrel 1 (1)
Black-bellied storm-petrel 1 (1)
Black petrel 1 (1)
Silver gull 30 (25)
Crested tern 1 (1)
Australasian gannet 1 (1)
Long-tailed jeager 1 (1)
Black-browed albatross 2 (2)
Shy albatross 1 (1)
Ruddy turnstone 1 (1)


Dwarf minke whale 1 (1)


Flying fish sp 1 (1)

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