Trip Highlights: 6 Albatross species, Black-bellied Storm Petrels, Southern and Northern Giant Petrels
Six birders departed Simonstown at 07h15 aboard a Cape Town Pelagics trip led by Barrie Rose.
Our run to Cape Point was pleasant on a calm sea although uneventful. Once outside the Point we were splashed and bumped by a moderate North-Wester on our beam as we headed across the sea in a South-Westerly direction. There were mixed flocks of terns, gannets and cormorants feeding over yellowtail within 2 miles of the Point. White-chinned Petrels, a few Sooty Shearwaters and a single Pomarine Skua were our first pelagics and we added Shy Albatross and Subantarctic Skua as we headed further offshore. At 15 miles an Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross made a single pass over the boat and we began to see the odd Wilson's Storm Petrel.
At 20 miles we picked up on 2 trawlers and headed to the nearest. While watching the net being hauled we added Black-browed Albatross, Northern Giant Petrel and Great Shearwater to the list. A Northern Royal Albatross joined the flock and was seen fairly well over a period of 10 minutes. Black-bellied Storm-Petrels caused some excitement as these passage migrants heading down to their breeding islands are usually only seen for a three week period at this time of the year.
Black-bellied Storm Petrel photographed during a previous CTP trip.
After searching through all the birds we headed to the second trawler where we added Southern Giant Petrel and a single Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross to the list before an adult Southern Royal Albatross gave us a single but close fly-by.
We headed back to Cape Point as the wind strength slowly increased. We saw a single Southern Right Whale at the Point before heading to the Partridge Point Bank Cormorant colony and back to Simon's Town.
The trip was significant for its six species of albatross.
Species seen with approximate numbers:
Northern Royal Albatross - 1
Southern Royal Albatross - 1
Shy Albatross - 600+
Black-browed Albatross - 80+
Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross - 1
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross - 1
Northern Giant Petrel - 1
Southern Giant Petrel - 6
White-chinned Petrel - ca 1000
Pintado Petrel - 400+
Sooty Shearwater - 30+
Great Shearwater - 8
Wilson's Storm-Petrel - 100+
Black-bellied Storm-Petrel - 5
Subantarctic Skua - 6
Pomarine Skua - 1
Cape Gannet - 500+
Arctic Tern - 1
Common Tern - coastal
Swift Tern - coastal
Kelp Gull - 30 and coastal
Cape Cormorant coastal
White-breasted Cormorant - coastal
Bank Cormorant - coastal
Crowned Cormorant - coastal
Hartlaub's Gull - coastal
Cape Fur Seal - 100+
Southern Right Whale - 1
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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