Saturday, November 23, 2013

Shearwater wreck

On my first visit to a surf beach since this year's arrival of migratory Short-tailed shearwaters there is still evidence of the massive wreck. There were shearwater carcasses every 5-10 metres at Phillip Island's Woolamai surf beach. Their migration from eastern Russia and western Alaska is generally complete in late September but the birds need the next month or so to replenish and energise for the breeding season. It is not until late November that Phillip Island's one million birds settle in to their breeding territory.

Over the last few years a cultural festival has developed around the arrival of the birds at Phillip Island for breeding. Shearwater Soundfest's Facebook page tells more (and the chronology of this year's Wreck is detailed with links to newspaper articles etc).

The November 3rd post on the Facebook page carries a nice video (albeit a little lengthy at 7 minutes) featuring last year's festival. The first 15 seconds has some nice dusk footage of the amazing swarm of shearwaters - a great thing to experience!

We hope this year's breeding season fares better than the migration.

Bird on!


  1. The Silhouettes against the moon is striking. Yes, hopefully the breeding season will help to equalise the losses that have occurred all along the east coast it seems.

  2. Hi Peter. Those losses are terrible. Hope next season will be good.

  3. This phenomenon has been interesting to read about. It seems there is some contention as to whether this is a normal event or a sign of trouble - I'm in two minds about it, myself!