Explorer and Independent Biologist

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Pelagic trip

On 23rd April Simon and I participated in a pelagic boat trip operated by the Southern Ocean Seabird Study Association (SOSSA), leaving Wollongong Harbour to cruise some 25 miles (30km) to beyond the continental shelf to 34.38S, 151.12 E. What birds might be seen depends on the time of year and we were delighted to record about 18 species of seabird from the boat.

On leaving the harbour, Crested Terns were flying past the boat

Clear of land, throwing out offal and food scraps 
attracted many seabirds close to the boat,
even close enough for catching and ringing

Among the first to be seen were Flesh-footed shearwaters...

...and the more elegant Wedge-tailed Shearwaters

A rare Providence Petrel puts in an appearance

Further out to sea, the first Albatrosses appear

Black-browed Albatross - note the characteristic under-wing pattern, 
compared with...

...the Shy Albatross
which has a much narrower black margin to the under-wing.

Some Campbell Island Albatrosses show up, 
distinguished from the closely-related 
Black-browed by the conspicuous yellow eye...

The yellow staring eyes of the Campbell Island Albatross,
compare with...

...the darker eye of the Black-browed

A Campbell Island Albatross is caught and I was allowed to ring this bird

A few Yellow-nosed Albatrosses appear

A single Buller's Albatross graced us with its presence
 The real excitement of the day occured when a Great Shearwater flew 
in and circled the boat. 
This species is extremely rare in Australian waters

The bird was enticed close to the boat with bait and was skillfully caught and ringed
We thoroughly enjoyed the whole excursion which was excellently organised,  with good company, friendly and extremely knowledgable & helpful leaders. The trip is excellent value for money and we recommend it unreservedly to anyone who loves the sea and seabirds.

Visit the SOSSA Webesite (and make bookings) here.


  1. Wonderful! How many of these are 'lifers'?

  2. I will have to check out which of these I saw in New Zealand. The Providence Petrel, at least, is a 'lifer'. I have seen Great Shearwaters in the Bay of Biscay.

  3. You are certainly having a fine time Maalie.

  4. It looks like you had such a great time Maalie! I liked the Campbell Is Albert Ross the best. :D

    In reply to your comment on my blog:
    I'm sorry to say that Plumpy doesn't live with me any more. He was unhappy here with only one girl to cuddle him so he moved back in with Casey and Emma. I'd still love to have a cat but I just can't give the time right now.

  5. Wonderful. Great to go on ventures like that. And that you and Simon were together.