Great Whites and Giant Petrels

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Great Whites and Giant Petrels

Postby Rod Hobson » Wed May 20, 2009 9:16 am

Folks,

Last night's ABC News had a feature on the remains of a Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) that beached on the Sunshine Coast yesterday. This was a finale to a series of interesting natural history observations that commenced for me with an e-mail that I received on the 14th of this month from Dr. Peter Kind, a friend who works for Primary Industries and Fisheries. Peter is an ichthyologist who has a great passion for the Queensland Lungfish in particular, but also for the Chondrichthyes (sharks, rays, chimaeras etc). Peter's recent e-mail informed of a very large Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias) that had taken up residence around, and was feeding on this carcass, off Caloundra, before it had drifted ashore yesterday. According to Peter the shark took umbrage with a shark patrol boat that approached too close to the whale; the shark probably regarding the corpse as its sole property.

Hot on the heals of Peter's e-mail came one from Paul Walbridge of SOSSA via fellow QPWS employee David Stewart. Paul's e-mail had a great photograph of three Northern Giant Petrels feeding on this same cetacean bounty. It was taken on the same day, as Peter's shark observation was made. Interestingly, in Paul's e-mail he stated that Northern Giant Petrels were now more commonly sighted off SEQ than were Southern Giant Petrels, a reverse to the trend of former years. When I was working on Fraser Island in the 1990's Southern Giant Petrels far out-numbered Northern Giant Petrels in beach derelicts that we recorded/collected there.

All interesting stuff . Now the local council has just got a few tons of putrescent whale with which to contend; the end of a fascinating natural history event.

What I would't have given to have seen that shark?

Regards,
Rod Hobson
Last edited by Rod Hobson on Mon Mar 01, 2010 5:59 am, edited 3 times in total.
Rod Hobson
 
Posts: 509
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2006 8:03 am

Giant Petrel Records

Postby Rod Hobson » Mon May 25, 2009 9:44 am

Folks,

Further to records of both species of giant petrel from Fraser Island, and the reversal in species' number trends on the island specifically (and apparently in SEQ generally) since I departed the island in 2002 from "Seabirds of Fraser Island 1996-2002", David Stewart and Rod Hobson (2006), The Sunbird, pp. 22-53:

Twelve records of beach-washed Southern Giant Petrels from June 1996-August 2002 plus four Queensland Museum specimen records (1970, 1979 x 2, 1987).

Five records of Northern Giant Petrel from July 1997-June 2002. No Queensland Museum specimen records for Fraser Island before this period.

I am in the process of chasing up records of both species since this paper was published and shall post these as soon as they're available.

Regards,
Rod Hobson
Last edited by Rod Hobson on Tue May 26, 2009 1:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Rod Hobson
 
Posts: 509
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2006 8:03 am

More Giant Petrel Information

Postby Rod Hobson » Tue May 26, 2009 1:40 pm

Folks,

Since June 2002 until the present Dave Stewart advises that there have five each of Southern Giant Petrel and Northern Giant Petrel retrieved from Fraser Island beaches.

Thanks Dave.

Regards,
Rod Hobson
Rod Hobson
 
Posts: 509
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2006 8:03 am


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