Sea Birding Pelagic Trips South Africa, Cape Town Pelagics


  Trip Reports - Trip report for 29 January 2006





A Cape Town Pelagics trip departed Simon's Town on Sunday 29 January 2006, led by Ross Wanless and assisted by Onno Huyser. We set off in calm conditions and what promised to be an unusually calm day. We made Cape Point in just 35 minutes, and conditions outside the bay were superb. We picked up a Giant Petrel and a White-chinned Petrel very early on, and a few miles further Chris Fallows advised us over the radio that he was on a current-line that had attracted lots of Cory’s and Sooty shearwaters and promised to be interesting. We were not let down, as we were able to get good views of the first Manx Shearwater of the trip, as well as enjoying sustained, close-up views of the other shearwaters. A surprise visitor in the form of a Great Shearwater put our shearwater total at 4, and we were barely off Cape Point!

Another skipper advised us that a trawler was operating quite far out, so we set off. Fortunately the Blue Pointer is a really fast boat, and the weather allowed us to get out there quickly, as we ended up having to go an extra 10 miles (32 NM off the point) to find an active trawler, having found virtually no birds behind a longliner and another trawler along the way. This trawler had birds in attendance, although in very small numbers. Nevertheless when the nets were finally hauled we were able to get brilliant views of four albatross species, as well as lots of other regulars. Fairly early on we were able to enjoy a SPECTACLED PETREL at close range! This is the third successive CTP trip that has had Ringeyes! We later found a second (although possibly the same individual as earlier). The calm weather held and we enjoyed a very fast run home. Although the absolute numbers of birds seen are amongst the lowest for any trip I have done, especially given that we found three fishing vessels, we were able to rack up a good diversity of birds and had a superb day on the water.



  Pelagic birds seen and approximate numbers



Shy Albatross 20
Black-browed Albatross 5
Indian Yellow-nosed Alb 2
Atlantic Yellow-nosed Alb 10
Northern Giant Petrel 1
Giant Petrel sp. 1
White-chinned Petrel 200
Spectacled Petrel 2
Cory's Shearwater 100
Great Shearwater 50
Sooty Shearwater 50
Manx Shearwater 3
Wilson 's Storm Petrel 20
European Storm Petrel 3
Subantarctic Skua 10
Arctic Skua 2
Pomarine Skua 1
Long-tailed Skua 1
Sabine's Gull 20
Arctic Tern 40


Thanks to Rob Lawrence for going the extra 10 miles (and back!) and getting us there and back so quickly and so comfortably. Thanks also to Onno for assisting with the guiding.