Sydney Pelagic trip, 12/03/2011
Some photos from a pelagic trip off the coast of Sydney.
Off on another pelagic from Sydney, we could see early on it was going to be fairly quiet for birds. A few Wedge-tailed and Flesh-footed Shearwaters started to follow the boat a short while outside of the harbour entrance. Shortly after, an Australasian Gannet flew in, keeping some distance between itself and the boat, no doubt attracted by the smell of the fish that we were putting over the side to entice the birds.
We had a couple of skuas fly past already by this point and an ID was made from photos as a Pomarine Skua. I also showed myself up as being a non-local by calling it a skua instead of a jaeger...
One bird that became quite common during the trip was the Great-winged Petrel (also known as the Grey-faced Petrel, depending on where you're from). We encountered several groups of these as we went. Great Crested Terns also put in an appearance. At various points, we also had Wandering, Black-browed and Shy Albatrosses, all keeping a distance from us.
Great Crested Tern
As nice as the birds were, the real stars of the day were the dolphins. First, a group of Oceanic Bottlenosed Dolphins riding our bow wave and diving around and under the boat. Another shout went up - a group of Risso's Dolphins was nearby, although quite a bit more wary of the boat. Risso's and Bottlenosed Dolphins often associate with each other. Eventualy, the Risso's came closer to us and were giving a display of breaking the water, standing on their tails and then flopping back in.
Oceanic Bottle-nosed Dolphin
Risso's Dolphin doing a spot of synchronised swimming
Nearly back at the harbour and a massive pod of Short-beaked Common Dolphins, some with some young. The pod was estimated at 200 dolphins, some of which followed us for some distance.
Short-beaked Common Dolphin on landing
Short-beaked Common Dolphin parent and child
No bird lifers for the day, although one for my Australian list (Hutton's Shearwater) and one mammal lifer (Risso's Dolphin).