Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Wild Bird Wednesday 360 - Southern Fulmar

While I was out on the ocean near Phillip Island, not seeing whales, but enjoying seeing lots of dolphins, a small pale bird started following the boat.

There had been a few gulls and terns around the boat, but this bird was not flying like either of these types of bird: too low to the water and not enough wing flaps.  There were a few Shy Albatross around as well, but even at distance you could see this bird was not large enough to be an Albatross.

Luckily, after about 10 minutes the bird came close enough to the boat for me to get a good look at it, and some (heavily cropped) pictures.

The bird was a Southern Fulmar or Antarctic Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialoides).  At almost any other time in the recent past finding this species would have been a real shock.  There have not be very many records in Victoria waters - and most (as far as I am aware) have been rather further off shore. According to some of my books most records on the 'mainland' coast of Australia are of bird driven ashore or 'wrecked'.

However, in recent weeks there has been a spate of records all along the Victorian coast - so it looks a much larger number of birds than normal have left Antartica and headed north.  Without the 'heads-up' that the records on social media had given I would have probably had no idea what this bird was.

As you can see its basically Silvery Grey in colour, but you can see the pale patch in the darker wing tips.  This bird flies with the same 'stiff wings' as the Fulmar from 'up north'.

All in all, a bit of a remarkable bird - and unsurprisingly, a new one for me!

















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20 comments:

Kenneth Cole Schneider said...

Nice shots even at a distance! The seemingly effortless flight of seabirds as they glide is amazing.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari om
Okay, that was worth the trip, right??! Gorgeous bird. YAM xx

Rhodesia said...

Well done, certainly not a bird that I have ever seen. Thanks for sharing with us all. Cheers Diane

Marie Smith said...

It’s a beauty. Wonder what conditions brought so many of them north?

Florida Farm Girl said...

Good find! It's always a treat to see new birds.

Nathalie SANTA MARIA said...

Very good observation ! First image is very great.

Brian King said...

Beautiful flight shots!

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Given the difficulties of taking pictures from the deck of a boat, well done, Stewart!

Margaret Birding For Pleasure said...

I never new there was a different species of Fulmar than the ones I see. Looks the same to me but I am sure there are subtle differences. Great shots from the moving boat Stewart. Thanks for hosting and have a good week

Emma said...

So good you got to see one of these, Stewart! And I'm a bit jealous - I have not been able to make it down to Cape Schanck to try to get a look at the ones hanging around there. Hopefully they hang around in our waters for a while longer...

italiafinlandia said...

Awesome wings!

Екатерина Балагурова said...

Freedom and expance!!

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

congrats for the new find

...and a fine one at that

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Well done, Stewart. Photographing birds in flight from the deck of a pitching and yawing ship is not easy.

This N That said...

Great pictures..Always nice to see a "new" bird...Seems like a rather large bird..Lovely wing span..Thanks for hosting..

Millie and Walter said...

You got some great action shots.

Linda said...

Such a graceful bird in flight!

Lea said...

Beautiful birds! Great in-flight photos!
Hope you are having a wonderful week!

Anne (cornucopia) said...

Great in flight photos Stewart.

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

When I was a kid, I dreamed A LOT about flying, Peter Pan-like. I may again tonight.