• Corellas
    • Jas Scotia
Dec 12: Best bird of the day was a jellyfish, although I did +1

Elliot Leach arrived at my place promptly at 0430 and we then picked up Louis Backstrom from his place in Kedron before powering up the M1 to Mooloolaba. We were full of the usual pelagic birder optimism – this is the lifeblood that keeps one going back for more. Arriving at the harbour, the wind seemed fresh enough, still coming from the east, and forecast to be 10-20 knots during the day. Ideal, or so we thought.

We motored out as usual, noting a nice flock of Common Terns, a Flesh-footed Shearwater, and a lone Sooty Tern on the way, and also pleased to see Wedge-tailed Shearwaters in almost constant attendance all the way to the shelf. Almost as soon as we crossed the border into Brisbane waters, though, the birds began to dry up a little. As we stopped to begin the drift, it was immediately apparent something was wrong. It was eerily quiet. No wind. The doldrums! Our hearts sank, as we all knew that this didn’t bode well for the day’s birding. Nevertheless, we began deploying berley.

Eventually a nice Sooty Tern appeared, associating loosely with a group of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters. More Wedge-tailed Shearwaters arrived, and although a few investigated the slick, most weren’t really interested or hungry-looking. At length, a couple of nice Tahiti Petrels appeared, and finally a Flesh-footed Shearwater made a brief pass of the boat – a year tick at last! At one point I was scanning with binoculars and saw a cracking Blue Marlin scything out of the water – amazing! And we spent time between birds watching a small group of Long-finned Pilot Whales.

On the way back, we stopped fairly close inshore off Mooloolaba to scan some fishing boats and do a small drift, which produced an adult Brown Booby, and a mixed flock of Common and White-winged Black Terns. A nice end to the trip.

But pride of place had to go to the world’s largest jellyfish! A cracking Lions mane Jellyfish Cyanea capillata that drifted by very close to the boat – mega!

With one year tick today, my year list finally moved on again, after one month and one day of stasis, to 304 species. I spent 5 hours 39 minutes birding, walked 0 km and drove 242.1 km. My chronological year list is here.