Great Shearwaters around Australia

April 3, 2011 — April 23, 2011

 

Great Shearwaters are appearing in unprecedented numbers off the coast of Australia. How unusual is this? Well, it’s about as unusual as an 8.9 earthquake and tsunami. It’s never happened before.

This isn’t an uncommon seabird. There are estimated to be about 15 million adults in existence, though they only breed on a small number of sub-Antarctic islands (Tristan de Cunha and Falklands groups). Normally, they migrate north across the equator through the Atlantic ocean. With a global range of almost half the planet, it’s no surprise they turn up in dribs and drabs off Australia – though to date, there has only  been three confirmed records

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Read more about "The Great Shearwater Invasion"

 Great Shearwaters off Portland

Site – continental shelf SW of Portland, Victoria, 3 April 2011.

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 Great Shearwaters off Port Macdonnell

About 50 Great Shearwaters were seen off Port Macdonnell. Images by Rob Drummond.

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 Great Shearwater off St Helens

Ian May reported "06/03/2011 at about 0900 while on the way out to the continental shelf, a Great Shearwater (1) flying south about 5 nautical miles east of St Helens Point, Tasmania. "

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 Great Shearwater off Swansea, NSW

Mick Roderick reported taking a mate's "16 foot tinny out to a FAD (Fish Attracting Device) about 11 miles of Swansea, NSW. After seeing a good number of Fleshy-foots and a few Wilson's Stormies we were lucky enough to have a Great Shearwater come up the wake of the boat and settle on the water next to us, before we'd even cut the engine for a drift."

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 Great Shearwater off Swansea, NSW

Mick Roderick reported taking a mate's "16 foot tinny out to a FAD (Fish Attracting Device) about 11 miles of Swansea, NSW. After seeing a good number of Fleshy-foots and a few Wilson's Stormies we were lucky enough to have a Great Shearwater come up the wake of the boat and settle on the water next to us, before we'd even cut the engine for a drift."

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 Great Shearwater, Wollongong

Rob Hynson's photos of Great Shearwaters off Wollongong http://www.pbase.com/rob_hynson/wollongong_pelagic_23_april_2011.

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