The weather over the past week was rough and strong winds and the possiblity of getting something rare was on the cards, How could i resist!
After a bit of effort i re-scheduled all that was on my calendar and then contacted a few people seeing if they were keen to join, As Tim Nickholds and Owen Lishmund were already on the boat i had a lift which was great.
I spoke to a few people and the last person i asked was Matt McCrae only because i knew of his nervousness of going on one in previous discussions and i was expecting a big fat NO but to my utter surprise the answer was Yes.
The Road trip was on and 4 of us heading down to Port Fairy to stay at Pelican Waters Caravan Park. We left late afternoon and driving into Port Fairy just after dark, a nice Barn Owl made a good start for the birds which we saw just outside of Killarney sitting on a fence post.
Arriving at the Caravan Park we dropped off our bags and headed into Port Fairy for dinner, we found a funky Pizza Shop which was great, got a few beers and headed back to the cabin to settle in for the night.
Early awake Sunday morning with nervous excitement, the previous months reports there had been a Southern Fulmar and Brown Skua seen around the area so was hoping to see one of these.
16 people arrived at the boat just before 7am and away we went, we left just before sunrise and as we headed out of Moyne River and started to steam towards the Continental Shelf we were greeted with a beautiful Sunrise.
|Sunrise at Port Fairy|
As We continued out we had large numbers of Fluttering type Shearwaters around the boat, the light was very tricky and was hard to work many of them out, but we did have good views of Huttons and Fluttering Shearwaters so was a good start.
The First Albatross started to circle the boat and a very nice Black-browed Albatross was observed by all.
The boat trip out takes a good 2 to 3 hours so you have to be on the look out the whole time, we had a very distant view of a White-fronted Tern ( LIFER 1) as we past Lady Percival Island.
|Lady Percival Island|
As we cruised towards the Shelf LIFER 2 was a Common Diving- Petrel which gave a quick view before diving into the waves and disappearing, was a nice find it wasn't a bird i had on my radar thinking i wouldn't be fast enough to catch a glimpse of it.
We arrived at the Shelf at nearly 9.30am and it was relatively quiet for the first 40 minutes, only a few Albatross and a few Fairy Prions which circled the boat, we contemplated moving ( glad we didn't), as we waited finally a few birds started turning up, Grey-backed Storm-Petrels seemed to be bouncing on the water surface.
This is when the bird activity got exciting, bird after bird turned up, LIFER 3 was a Cape Petrel which landed on the water just next to the boat, a beautiful little bird.
|C ape Petrel|
From there it was a call from James Mustafa of Sooty Albatross (LIFER 4) off to the horizon, luckily for us the bird came in for a closer look and did a few circles of the boat, giving us unbelievable views!
|Northern and Southern Giant-petrel|
|Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross|