- 4 Soft-plumaged Petrels
We left Simon's Town on board the Blue Pointer, guided by
Meidad Goren and Sue Jackson. The weather and the sea were
lovely, and the large but even swell made the ride out comfortable
and the ride back even more so. We headed WSW toward the trawling
ground around 25 miles off Cape Point. Ourfirst interesting
sight was that of a lonely Arctic skua, an early summer visitor
trying desperately to steal food from a Kelp Gull. The second
was a SOFT PLUMAGED PETREL, which swung by the boat to give
us an excellent viewfor a few minutes before disappearing.
We were to encounter 3 more later. Aswe neared the trawlers
we found our first Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross,accompanied
by about 15 Sooty Shearwaters and some Yellowfin tunas.
We visited one hake longliner with just a few birds in attendance,
but it was busy hauling its line and not yet processing food,
so we continuedtoward the more promising trawlers in the distance.
These rewarded us withgreat numbers of all the species we
were looking for, including both Giant-Petrel spp and Wilson's
Storm-Petrels. We moved from one trawler to the other for
a couple of hours in the hopes of seeing more species, and
indeed found many more birds but no new species. Interestingly,
many of the Shy Albatrosses seen were juveniles. We all enjoyed
unforgettable views of albatrosses and petrels feeding, squabbling
and then taking to the air to swing gracefully round the boat.
On our return trip, we stopped at the Bank Cormorant colony
before heading round the breakwater to tie up, well satisfied
with our saturation views of Soft-plumaged Petrels and the
more common pelagic species that nonetheless make these trips