Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Port Fairy Victoria Pelagic and Global Birdness

Slender-billed Prion, tick!
We got a call from Philip Peel a while back to see if we wanted in on a pelagic on Sunday 7 August. To make a longer story shorter, we said yes and were in Port Fairy on the evening of the 6th. When Phil arrived at our accommodation he asked, "How do you like my hat?" I wish there was a photo of my face as I looked at Phil wearing a BSBO hat! I was gobsmacked. My dual-hemisphere existence collided. Then he gave me a "Love Packet" from Kim Kaufman that had t-shirts and stickers and pins and socks and just a whole bunch of wonderful Black Swamp Bird Observatory stuff! It was so very touching and I am so grateful. My birding family in the USA and Oz have successfully merged and things will never be the same again. Watch out world, this is Global Birdness!

Phil Peel, Lynn and me in Port Fairy, VIC
Sunday morning at 7am we headed out to sea with a boat full of friends.
The sunrise heading out from Port Fairy.
Along with Phil, we had the company of our buddy and birding partner, Robert Shore, as well as our good friend Bill Twiss. Also aboard were friends David Adam, Alison Nesbitt, Tim Nicholls, Kevin Bartram, Adam Fry and other wonderful Victorian birders. As the morning progressed the wind kicked up far above what was forecast and we were rockin’ and rollin.’ In about three hours we were 50 kilometers offshore and we set up to berley (chum). This began our birding in earnest.

We had some wonderful birds, four of which were lifers for the two of us and another just for Lynn. A White-fronted Tern on the trip back into port was a lifer for her. The other lifers were: Great-winged Petrel (nominate race, we had Grey-faced), Brown Skua, Slender-billed Prion and Grey-backed Storm-petrel. I am grateful. I will be honest and admit that having once again dipped on Wandering Albatross was a disappointment. But the trip was wonderful (for a pelagic) and it was especially nice birding with friends. Brace yourselves, here come some photos...
Brown Skua

Brown Skua floating
Brown Skua leaving
Great-winged Petrel (nominate race)

Great-winged Petrel showing off his wing.
Grey-backed Storm-petrel

Fairy Prion
Slender-billed Prion

New Zealand Fur Seal visited for a few moments.
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross

Grey-backed Storm-petrel, Black-browed Albatross and a Fairy Prion

The three hours plus ride back into port. My least favorite part of pelagic birding.
Phil nodding off as Bill Twiss and Robert Shore brave the spray in the stern.        
Lifer Selfie on the way in.
We had a quick coffee with the group before heading back to our accommodation and supper at the pub. A wonderful day it was. I am very grateful.

Monday morning we drove to Torquay where we have a beautiful AirBnB apartment for the next ten days before we move in for a few weeks at our son’s. I awoke Tuesday morning here feeling abdominal discomfort that sometimes means trouble. I’ve now done a day and a half of 'clear' liquids and so far so good. I am weak and tired, but that is to be expected. Crossed fingers that I will be back to whatever it is that is considered normal for me very soon. There’s some birding left to do! I am grateful.

RB AUS Life List: 671
Lynn AUS Life List: 653
Couple’s AUS Year List: 636
Peace. Love. Birds.


  1. Very nice account of the Port Fairy Pelagic! Thank you R Bruce Richardson!

    1. Great birding with you my friend (and you got some really cracking photos out there!).

    2. Thanks for that, staying focused on the birds prevents sea sickness :-)

  2. so nice to meet you, pity the ride was bit rough but the birds made up for that im sure ,it was my first and i loved it and made so much nicer with loverly people like yourselfs ,nearly all the birds were first time captures for me but im glad to know the passion for birding a lifer ,love your photos hope to meet up again in the near future to share the passion of the ever delightful bird xx

    1. So glad you were there and enjoyed it Paula! I hope so too! Cheers for now!


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