Trip Report

Oceanwings pelagic – 3 June 2002

Seven of us (Sav Saville, Paul Scofield, Murray Jeffries, Rebecca Boulton, David Lawrie, an Irish guy (sorry) and myself) plus skipper Simon Melville departed the harbour at 1400. Conditions were clear, with blue sky, a light breeze and great light. The sea was very calm, and hence there were no casualties.

Heading out past the rocks we very quickly ran into the birds. About 50 odd Cape petrels were quick to join the boat, as were several Buller’s albatross and strangely several sooty shearwaters (would have thought these guys would have been in the north Pacific by now??). Several prions were also spotted on the way out, with one in particular looking to have a larger bill, but avoiding identification.

We threw a bit of chum over to attract the birds and then continued out into the deeper water, with large numbers of birds in tow. There had obviously been a fishing boat in the area, as we came across a group of about 8 wandering albs (both Gibson’s and Antipodean) and 10 Northern giant petrel with a large flock of Cape petrels sitting on the water. We stopped the boat and chummed sharks livers, and soon had about 200+ Cape petrels and the wanderers and giant petrels right at the back of the boat. Several sooty shearwaters continued to fly past, and a steady stream of prions were flying past the boat in ones and twos. We were checking these birds to try and pick up any Antarctic prions, and in the end suspect that several of them were either Salvin’s or Antarctic, most likely Antarctic, but didn’t pin any of them down as such. Several common diving petrels also flew past. Surprisingly Buller’s albatross was the most common alby, followed by several white-capped, and two melanophrys black-broweds. Two Salvin’s albsflew past at a distance but didn’t come into the boat. We also had several black-fronted terns fly over, but none really stayed long. Several Westland petrels were in the area, but they were not in their ‘normal’ winter numbers. However, a real surprise was a black petrel that appeared right beside the boat and fed briefly on the chum before floating off.

As we headed back in a huge pod of 500-1000 Dusky dolphins appeared and we had fantastic views of these awesome little acrobats. They really do put on a show! A sperm whale on the surface, preparing to dive and then show off its tail as it dove was also a real highlight.

Surprisingly no Royals!

All in all a fantastic trip! Back at the Harbour at 1630ish.

Birds seen –

Red-billed gull
Black-backed gull
Little shag
Cape petrel 200+ (inc 2 southern birds)
Buller’s albatross 15+
Sooty shearwater 5
Antipodean albatross 3+ (10 Wanderers in all)
Gibson’s albatross 3+
Northern giant petrel 10 (mostly juv)
Fairy prion c.30
Prion sp. several
Westland petrel c.10
White-capped albatross 5
Black-browed albatross 2 melanophrys
Salvin’s albatross 2
Common diving petrel c.5
Black-fronted tern 3
Gannet 1
Black petrel 1