With Dr Jim Fowler as my guest it was with some trepidation I agreed to head out to sea on a smallish fishing boat to look for sea birds. We joined the Southern Ocean Seabird Study Association at Wollongong Harbour at 7am on a bright autumn morning.
Why trepidation? I don't like boats. I tolerate them, but I find them too slow and, as a friend said "But Simon you are a Piscean and, as a fish, you would not like to be on a trawler!" I used to sail every Sunday on Sydney Harbour and out over the horizon. I loathed it, (Sorry uncle).
We met up with a group of 20 or so enthusiasts. Now- I like bird watching a lot but I am not a "twitcher". What is a twitcher? A person who gets SO nervous and excited about seeing a new bird they "twitch". I have heard of stories of a twitcher who left his wife on their wedding night simply to look at a rare bird....(I could go on about getting priorities right in the bird department but i digress).
So within a few minutes of departing the harbour, excited yelling became part of the days activities as each twitcher became increasingly excited (some hysterical) with being the first to spot a new bird.
However- I have never seen Albatross before so it was a life time event and one I would not miss. Below are the birds I saw. All photos by Dr Jim Fowler:-
Black Browed Albatross
Yellow Nosed Albatross
The work Done by SOSSA is vital in monitoring the health and population of these magnificent birds. Long Line Tuna fishing kills Albatross at a huge rate and its important that all of us be aware that "dolphin safe" does not mean "wildlife safe".
After 9 hours at sea, and several moment where I wanted to return my breakfast to the deep we returned to Harbour. I have to confess- this was a life time moment. The birds are simply the most beautiful I have seen. The way they fly is magnificent. I am grateful for the experience.
NEXT:- Australia's Pastoral history..