Trip Highlights: 5 Albatross species including a Wanderer, Spectacled Petrel, Southern & Northern Giant Petrels, Black-bellied Storm-petrels.
An eager group of birders departed Simon's Town at 07h15 on board a Cape Town Pelagics trip guided by Barrie Rose.
The trip down False Bay was comfortable although uneventful. At Cape Point we encountered our first pelagic species in the form of White-chinned Petrel. Our course offshore was south-westerly across a very light north-westerly breeze. We soon encountered a number of Shy Albatross which kept pace with our vessel for some miles and provided great views. Great Shearwaters became more numerous the further we moved offshore.
We became aware of a hake long-line drifting at about 20 miles and we were soon in close proximity to the Tina. The crew were finishing breakfast and soon after our arrival they began to haul their line. Before they started processing we were able to approach within meters of a resting Southern Giant Petrel which posed for our photographers.
As the liner began to process fish the flock grew. An Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross was an important bird as they have not been common over the past weeks. Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatrosses were however present in numbers and provided excellent viewing. Pintado Petrels, Black-browed Albatross and Northern Giant Petrel were also present.
After 40 minutes we decided to head towards a trawler which was approaching from the south just a mile offshore of us. The Flamethorn was carrying a large flock of birds dominated by White-chinned Petrels and Great Shearwaters. After interrogating the flock for some time we picked up on a Spectacled Petrel which is a species must sought after by international birders. When the trawler finished processing the birds dispersed and we headed back to the long-liner.
By now the liner had attracted a large flock of birds as well as a number of sport-fishing vessels which were hooking a few Yellowfin Tuna attracted by the its discards. Highlights at this point were a Wandering Albatross, a second Spectacled Petrel and a group of about ten Black-bellied Storm-Petrels.
Our trip back to Cape Point was uneventful except for a very distant Arctic Skua and even more distant Humpbacked Whales. Inside False Bay we visited the Partridge Point Bank Cormorant and Cape Fur Seal roosts before heading back to Simon's Town.
Species seen and approximate number:
Wandering Albatross - 1
Shy Albatross - 200+
Black-browed Albatross - 200+
Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross - 20+
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross - 2
Southern Giant Petrel - 3
Northern Giant Petrel - 2
Giant Petrel sp - 4
White-chinned Petrel - ca 1000
Spectacled Petrel - 2
Pintado Petrel - 50+
Black-bellied Storm-Petrel - 10
Wilson's Storm-Petrel - 50+
Sooty Shearwater - 10+
Great Shearwater - 1500+
Subantarctic Skua - 3
Cape Gannet - 100+
Arctic Tern - 10
Swift Tern - coastal
Common Tern - coastal
Kelp Gull - 50 and coastal
Cape Cormorant - coastal and to 5mls
White-breasted Cormorant - coastal
Bank Cormorant - coastal
African Penguin - coastal
Humpbacked Whale - 3
Cape Fur Seal - 100+
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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