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 29.

We had high expectations for our last full day at sea, but the ship slowed as we neared Tasmania, so we didn’t cross the continental shelf in daylight. As a result, only 15 bird species were seen, the same total as yesterday, but there were a few new additions to the list. Most exciting for the birders was Gould’s Petrel, another Pterodroma petrel which is confined as a breeding species to the SW Pacific Ocean. Presumably the Shy Albatrosses seen (almost all adults) were predominantly of the Tasmanian form (sometimes split from the larger New Zealand population of ‘White-capped’ Albatrosses).

Short-tailed Shearwater 160 Fairy Prion 110
White-chinned Petrel 35 Shy Albatross 21
White-headed Petrel 14 Gould’s Petrel 8
Wandering Albatross 7 Black-browed Albatross 4
Southern Royal Albatross 2 Mottled Petrel 2
Black-bellied Storm Petrel 2 Northern Giant Petrel 1
Soft-plumaged Petrel 1 Antarctic Prion 1
Common Diving Petrel 1    
A Wandering Albatross enjoys some fresh calamari

Bull Kelps were scarce relative to recent days, but we saw the first Macrocystis since leaving Kerguelen. Three litter items were seen, the highest daily total since crossing the Subtropical Front south of Africa.

One of a group of 10-15 Short-beaked Common Dolphins bow riding at dusk