Sea Birding Pelagic Trips South Africa, Cape Town Pelagics


  Trip Reports - Trip report for 24 February 2007




10 Great-winged Petrels
Shearwaters galore!

A Cape Town Pelagics trip left Simon’s Town on the Blue Pointer, guided by myself and Dalton Gibbs. In the calm conditions in the bay we made excellent time to the Point. A few miles out, we started to encounter mixed flocks feeding in association with Bonito tunas, and we zipped between the aggregations, getting great views of Arctic and Pomarine skuas harassing terns, plunge-diving gannets and loads of Cory’s Shearwaters. As we got into the deeper water, we got word of a trawler, but an unpredicted wind started freshening out of the west, making conditions a bit lumpy. Disappointment was great when we got to where the trawler had been, but it was nowhere to be found. We meandered a bit and had brief views of a MANX SHEARWATER, when lady luck smiled and we spotted a large vessel. It turned out to be a trawler, and although it was not fishing, it was processing catch and had a fair number of birds in its wake. We sped along with it and soon racked up a very impressive list, with crippling views of GREATWINGED PETRELS, FLESHFOOTED SHEARWATER and all four regular albatross species.

The trip home failed to produce the Sperm whales that had been seen in the area, but we did encounter a pod of Bryde’s whales feeding in association with hundreds of Cory’s Shearwaters – really impressive numbers of these birds. Although this trip was unusual in many ways, the diversity of birds and huge numbers seen at times, especially the energetic feeding aggregations closer to the point, were fabulous and it was great to be back on a pelagic trip after a 2 month absence (owing to a visit to Tristan and Gough islands!)



  Pelagic birds seen and approximate numbers



Shy Albatross 100
Black-browed Albatross 10
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross 2
Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross 2
Northern Giant-Petrel 1
Giant-Petrel sp 1
White-chinned Petrel 200
Great-winged Petrel 10
Sooty Shearwater 100
Great Shearwater 10
Cory's Shearwater 500
Flesh-footed Shearwater 1
Manx Shearwater 1
European Storm-Petrel 20
Wilson's Storm-Petrel 50
Subantarctic Skua 4
Arctic Skua 10
Pomarine Skua 2
Sabine's Gull 20
Arctic Tern 5
Common Tern 10
Kelp Gull 100
Cape Gannet 50

  Coastal species seen



African Penguin
Hartlaub’s Gull
Swift Tern
White breasted Cormorant
Bank Cormorant
Cape Cormorant

Cape Fur Seal
Bryde's Whale


Thanks to everyone on board for helping make such an enjoyable trip!