45.6 to 45.8 degrees south

Wednesday July 15, 2009

After an uncomfortable night steaming into a strong southeasterly wind and swell, the conditions abated for dawn and we began about 30 miles north of the Soela seamount. At first light, there were several large prions around the back of the vessel, initially tentatively identified (in half light) as Broad-billed Prions. As the sun came up more birds appeared and remained with the vessel throughout the day. Contrary to views expressed in the field guides that these birds are "boat shy", we had them flying within feet of the vessel throughout the day. By the time we reached the seamount we had in excess of 500 birds around the boat. Inspection of photos back at shore after the trip also confirmed Salvin's Prion, in addition to Antarctic Prions, mixed in with the Broad-bills. Grey Petrels were present near the seamount, coming into berley and within a few feet of the vessel, along with over 20 White-headed Petrels throughout the day, two juvenile Grey-headed Albatross, a juvenile Salvin's Albatross and a Brown Skua. Just before dusk, two Blue Petrels passed in quick succession very close to the vessel.

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Written by

Simon Mustoe