Trip Highlights: 4 Albatross species, Southern Giant Petrel, Arctic Tern, Humpback Whales.
Eight birders departed Hout Bay at 07h30 on a Cape Town Pelagics trip heading for the trawling grounds with Barrie Rose the guide on board.
We ran in a south-westerly direction across a light south-east breeze as we headed into the deep in search of the hake trawl fleet. The trip offshore soon produced White-chinned Petrels and Sooty Shearwaters. We noted a pair of Humpback Whales in the distance and were soon onto our first Shy Albatrosses. At about 8 miles we visited a feeding aggregation which included an Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross and some more Shy's. Also in attendance were 3 Humpback Whales which approached to within 20m of the boat while we were drifting on the swell.
Heading on out we added Subantarctic Skua and Wilson's Storm Petrel. At 24 miles we picked up on 2 hake trawlers with good flocks of foraging birds in attendance; here we added Black-browed Albatross, Southern Giant Petrel and Pintado Petrel to the list. Through the morning we moved between the two trawlers and visited a third which had fished its way into the area and the list expanded to include Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross, Arctic Tern and Great Shearwater.
In the early afternoon the south-easter started to increase and we headed back to Hout Bay after spending a spectacular 3 hours around the trawlers. We docked at 15h00.
Species seen and approximate numbers:
Shy Albatross - 600+
Black-browed Albatross - 250+
Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross - 2
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross - 5
Southern Giant Petrel - 8
White-chinned Petrel - ca 1000
Pintado Petrel - 200+
Sooty Shearwater - 15+
Great Shearwater - 4
Wilson's Storm Petrel - 1000+
Subantarctic Skua - 10
Cape Gannet - 300+
Arctic Tern - 1
Common Tern - 6 and coastal
Swift Tern - coastal
Kelp Gull - 50 and coastal
Cape Cormorant coastal
White-breasted Cormorant - coastal
Hartlaub's Gull - coastal
Cape Fur Seal - 100+
Humpbacked Whale - 5
A message from Cape Town Pelagics:
A huge thank you to our experienced skippers who are
able to safely lead us to the best birding areas and
skillfully manoeuvre the boat into just the best position
while all on board are busy concentrating on the birds!
Coordinating a pelagic trip over a year in advance
with guests from all across South Africa and different
countries around the world requires an organised office
team. We thank them for their special eye for detail
- and for the sometimes last-minute rearrangements
and frustration if the weather delays the trip to
another day! Our biggest thank-you is to our Cape
Town Pelagics guides who take time out of their work,
often involving seabirds and conservation, and time
away from their families, to provide our guests with
a world-class birding experience. Cape Town Pelagics
donates all it profits to seabirds, and so all the
participants who join the trip make a contribution
towards bird research and conservation - a big thank
you from all of us.
Trip Report by Cape Town Pelagics
guide Barrie Rose.
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