Friday, December 27, 2013

Esperance Pelagic Trip Report - 30 November 2013

Summary: This was the first pelagic trip we've organised off Esperance, so we were unsure exactly what to expect. Although we did not pick up any particularly unusual sightings, overall it was a successful trip, and likely to be well worth repeating. The highlights were a high counts of Wandering(-type) Albatross and White-faced Storm-Petrel, several Great-winged Petrel of the NZ race gouldi ('Grey-faced Petrel') with extensive pale faces, and a good number of Short-tailed Shearwaters – although common off Esperance, the species has only been recorded once before on WA pelagic trips (a single bird off Albany) and was a lifer for several on board. Overall, at least 11 tubenose species were recorded.

Wandering-type Albatross. The heavy build and extensive white in plumage suggests Snowy Albatross, but male Gibson's or Tristan are also possibilities. Photo courtesy Dan Mantle.