Trip Report

Napier Pelagic – 19 November 2005

Eight birders departed Port Napier aboard “Big Kahuna” (skipper George Clark) at 0800 hrs on Sat 19 Nov. On board were Frank Antram (Wellington), Tim Barnard (Rotorua), Pete & Sue Combridge (UK), Roger McNeill (Auckland), Colin Miskelly (Wellington), Rachel Paterson (Palmerston North), and Steve Wood (Motueka). Conditions were sunny and warm all day, with 10 knot northwest wind and slight seas, but some white caps. We headed straight offshore, steaming for 1:45 hrs at about 20 knots to our first burley site about 60 km offshore (39 35 S 177 34 E), water depth 145 m.

Few birds were seen en route: 1 fluttering shearwater, 1 sooty shearwater, 4 Buller’s shearwaters, 20 flesh-footed shearwaters, 1 distant giant petrel, and 100s of gannets.

The next 6 hrs were spent burleying at various nearby locations, with the most successful technique being throwing fish scraps astern while steaming at about 6 knots. The following bird totals are minimums (i.e. the maximum no. seen at a time) as we suspect the same individual albatrosses were visiting us repeatedly. 20 Buller’s shearwaters, 30+ flesh-footed shearwaters, 10 sooty shearwaters, 5 fluttering shearwaters, 5 white-faced storm petrels, 2 white-capped mollymawks, 7 Salvin’s mollymawks, 3 southern black-backed gulls, 1 distant wandering albatross (gibsoni, or male antipodensis – will be easier when they are synonymised), 1 northern royal albatross, 1 subadult black-browed mollymawk (melanophrys), 1 grey-faced petrel, 50 gannets. Also one persistent 1.5 m blue shark, and several pods of common dolphins (c.30 total) on the way home. Back in port at 1630 hrs.

Notable by their absence: terns, skuas, prions, cookilarias, diving petrels.

Colin Miskelly