tumblr page counter
Tahiti Petrel

Tahiti Petrel

Barau's Petrel

Barau's Petrel

Royal Albatross

Royal Albatross

Albatross

Shy Albatross

solanders_petrel

Solanders Petrel

Pelagic Trips

Coral Sea Seabird Expedition 2017

View Tour Dates and Costs    DownloadPDF

We’ve organised a special eleven day Coral Sea Seabird Expedition aboard MV Kulasi targeting Australia's deep water basins and troughs along our borders with PNG and the Solomon Islands in search of the rare seabirds found in adjacent waters.

Route – We will travel south from Port Moresby to the Coral Sea Basin (5000m). Once there we will follow the PNG/AUS border east to the Louisiade Trough and the un-named seamount, where the above two borders meet with the Solomon Island’s EEZ. We will then travel south east along the Solomon EEZ to near the southern end of the Sth Rennell Trough. I have added two additional days for drifting in bird rich areas, eg Louisiade Trough and the seamount area.

Target Species: Beck’s Petrel, Fiji Petrel, Tropical Shearwater, Tristram’s Storm Petrel, Heinroth’s Shearwater, Vanuatu Petrel, Leach’s Storm Petrel, Herald Petrel, Collared Petrel, Grey-backed Tern, Bulwer’s Petrel and Band-rumped Storm Petrel.

Raine Island - A unique chance to see Australia’s rarest breeding seabird.

View Tour Dates and Costs    Download 2015 trip report

Raine Island is situated on the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef about 130km due east of Cape York’s Jardine NP and about 130km north of Portland Roads (Lockhart River). It’s the site of Australia’s only breeding colony of Herald Petrel with only ten pairs. Our 2015 trips were the first organised pelagic trip to the Island by birders since 1995 and all three trips were successful in finding the bird.

The trip will start and finish at Lockhart River/Portland Roads, which will give you the chance to go birding in Iron Range either before or after the trip. We’ll board on the first afternoon, have an evening meal and head north to the outer reef, where we’ll anchor for the night. After breakfast we’ll cross into deep water and head north towards Raine Island. We’ll spend the day in deep water offshore, arriving that afternoon.

The following day will be spent in deep water offshore from Raine Island, burleying for seabirds. Our third night will again be sheltered at a nearby reef. The following day we’ll head south in deep water towards a break in the outer reef, where we’ll spend the night after sea birding all day. We’ll wake on the final morning with breakfast on the boat and disembarking in time to catch the morning flight to Cairns.

With this itinerary you can fly into Lockhart in the morning, spend the day birding in Iron Range and board the boat in the afternoon without having any overnight accommodation costs. On the way back, after breakfast you can disembark and go straight to the airport to fly home on the morning flight, again saving on overnight accommodation costs.


The Australian Seabird Expedition 2008

The Inaugural Australian Seabird Expedition was one of the longest and most ambitious seabirding trips ever undertaken from the east coast of Australia.  Over 23 days,  fourteen seabirders took part on three different legs covering over 4000km of open ocean, within Australia’s EEZ, surveying seabirds and cetaceans.

Leg1, travelled from Newcastle, across the continental shelf and towards Lord Howe Island about 750km N/E.  Passing within 15km of LHI and continuing north east for a further 900km, eventually arriving at Australia’s eastern most territory, Norfolk Island. Leg 2 sailed directly north from Norfolk towards a distant seamount 300km away and on the edge of our territorial borders with Noumea. 

After returning to Norfolk Island, expeditioners commenced the return journey back to NSW, passing LHI and crossing the shelf north off Newcastle, finishing on the 17th October 2008.

Background

Most of Australia’s offshore waters have been extensively surveyed for both seabirds and cetaceans.  Virtually all of our southern ocean waters have been surveyed yearly for decades through privately organised pelagic trips, various scientific research vessels and AAD trips to Antarctic, Heard and Macquarie bases.  NW WA, SW WA, the Great Barrier Reef and the continental strip along the east coast have all been repeatedly surveyed for many years. 

The vast area of the western pacific from mainland Eastern Australia out to our EEZ around Norfolk Island, a distance of around 2000km remains in many ways unsurveyed.  Records from these waters have been incidental, coming from fishing boats, passing ships or expedition ships repositioning to the northern hemisphere. 

Objectives:

Staying within Australian waters, this expedition “slow travelled” these waters over 23 days surveying for both seabirds and cetaceans.  The timing and route of this seabirding expedition was planned to coincide with the annual southern migration of Cook’s, Mottled and Pycroft’s Petrel as well as Buller’s Shearwater back to their breeding grounds in NZ. 

GPS locations were recorded throughout the journey and water temperature readings were taken twice daily.  The survey track took us to a seamount about 180nm north of Norfolk Island and roughly half way to Noumea.

Total species numbers seen:

Red-tailed Tropicbird 16 Great-winged Petrel 743
White-tailed Tropicbird 5 Solander’s Petrel 166
Wilson’s Storm-Petrel 65 Mottled Petrel 55
White-faced Storm-Petrel 2 Gould's Petrel 2
Black-bellied Storm-Petrel 17 Cook's Petrel 9
White-bellied Storm-Petrel 137 Pycroft’s Petrel (?) 4
Wandering Albatross 94 Collared Petrel 1
Black-browed Albatross 3 Black-winged Petrel 4
Shy Albatross 7 Australasian Gannet 50
Yellow-nosed Albatross 3 Masked Booby 27
Northern Giant-Petrel 3 Brown Booby 1
Cape Petrel 65 Brown Skua 5
White-chinned Petrel 3 Pomarine Jaeger 2
Westland Petrel 1 Arctic Jaeger 360
Black Petrel 8 Long-tailed Jaeger 7
Wedge-tailed Shearwater 203 Common Noddy 61
Buller’s Shearwater 2 Black Noddy 211
Flesh-footed Shearwater 532+ White Tern 105
Sooty Shearwater 41 Grey Ternlet 37
Short-tailed Shearwater 3740+ Sooty Tern 564
Fluttering Shearwater 2 Roseate Tern 3
Hutton's Shearwater 3 White-fronted Tern 1
Little Shearwater 246 Crested Tern 20
Tahiti Petrel 32 Silver Gull 6
Kermadec Petrel 5 Ruddy Turnstone 2
White-headed Petrel 2