By Peter Ryan, onboard scientist, expert in general ornithology, seabird-fishery interactions, evolutionary ecology, marine debris, solid waste management, biology of oceanic islands.
Leg 1, Day 9 – December, 2016.
After steaming overnight from the Prince Edwards, we made good speed east towards the Crozets with a view to arriving off the western end of the archipelago tomorrow morning. The weather was kind, if cool, and despite being a good distance from the nearest islands, a good diversity of seabirds was observed during 11 hours of transects, including three prions (thanks to digital photography…).
|Salvin’s Prion||100s||Antarctic Prion||10s|
|Soft-plumaged Petrel||35||Black-bellied Storm Petrel||32|
|White-chinned Petrel||20||Wandering Albatross||15|
|Sooty Albatross||8||Kerguelen Petrel||8|
|White-headed Petrel||7||Grey-headed Albatross||5|
|Grey-backed Storm Petrel||4||Black-browed Albatross||3|
|Indian Yellow-nosed Alby||3||Northern Giant Petrel||3|
|Brown Skua||2||Light-mantled Albatross||2|
|Macaroni Penguin||2||Southern Royal Albatross||2|
|Slender-billed Prion||2||Southern Giant Petrel||1|
|Blue Petrel||1||Wilson’s Storm Petrel||1|
We had high hopes of seeing some cetaceans in the relatively calm weather, but the only sighting was a tantalising series of small blows close to the ship that yielded no sighting of the animal responsible. The only marine mammal seen was a single fur seal. Kelps were fairly scarce, with only Bull Kelps seen. No litter was observed during standard transects, but Guiseppe claimed a small white fragment during a dedicated litter transect. Jasmine finally got to see a Grey-backed Storm Petrel at sea (as opposed to in a box after coming aboard at night). Her comment: “They really do have grey backs…”