I dipped on the Black-eared Catbird, and now I've dipped on the White-necked Petrel for the second time this year. That's it for WNP attempts for me this year, as I'll be in the Torres Strait in March. (Best time to see these petrels is January, February and March. They are recorded in April - in fact I've been told that Port Stephens in April is the best time to see them - but the records do not seem to back that up.)
|Long-tailed Jaeger, photo by Brook Whylie|
It was a disappointing day at sea. The weather was better than expected - it was warm, there was a little wind and some rain as we returned to port. We expected heavy seas, but they really weren't too bad. It was a little rough as we headed to the shelf, but not nearly as bumpy as had been forecast.
|Wedge-tailed Shearwater, photo by Brook Whylie|
In January, when I did the Kiama pelagic, I decided the Bird of the Day was the bulbul I saw on the way to the boat. Yesterday, it was easy to select the Bird of the Day, as there were so few contenders. I added three seabirds to my list for 2018: Wilson's Storm Petrel, Shy Albatross and Long-tailed Jaeger. The storm petrel flew past just once, wanting to get himself onto our list, but not staying to chat. The albatross also did not linger. It flew in to the berley, grabbed breakfast and departed immediately. The jaegers were more cooperative. There were several big fat Pomarine Jaegers throughout the day, but I'm told there were only three Long-tailed Jaegers: an adult, a juvenile and an immature. They stayed with us for most of the day, flying overhead and showing off their different plumages. Indisputably the Bird of the Day.
|Hutton's Shearwater, photo by Brook Whylie|
We saw the usual list of shearwaters, a few Grey-faced Petrels and a sprinkling of terns. I think any birder would have classed it as an unsatisfactory birdlist.
|Grey-faced Petrel, photo by Brook Whylie|
It was a disappointed wet group of birders who disembarked from the boat when we returned to Kiama. I believe there were a dozen birders on board. At least five of us had travelled up from Victoria with the sole purpose of admiring a White-necked Petrel. It was my eighteenth attempt to see this bird. I wonder how many more times must I travel north in search of a bird that is not supposed to be rare.