Trip Highlights: Spectacled Petrel, Manx Shearwater, Northern Giant Petrel, Sabine's Gull, Pomarine Jaeger, with a Southern Giant Petrel seen from the second boat.
With calm seas and very little wind predicted we left Simon's Town harbour with a group of British birders on board the Destiny and Pisces. For many this was to be their first trip out to sea off Cape Town and so they could look forward to the prospect of many lifers.
The trip out of False Bay was fairly smooth and uneventful with the first Cape Gannets and Sooty Shearwaters of the trip being noted. We stopped for a few minutes to enjoy the views of Cape Point as well as good numbers of Cory's and Sooty Shearwaters. With the knowledge that there were a few trawlers operating about 25 miles south of Cape Point we decided to push on to the trawling grounds. En route to the trawling grounds we had a brief sighting of a Manx Shearwater, a couple Parasitic Jaegers and Sabine's Gulls as well as the first albatross of the trip, a young Shy Albatross.
Approaching a trawler excitement levels were instantly raised and the trawler was not to disappoint. We soon had large numbers of White-chinned Petrel, Black-browed and Shy Albatross, Great Shearwaters and Wilson’s Storm-Petrel all around us. A few Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross were noted however it darker-headed Atlantic cousin could not be located. In amongst the Wilson's Storm-Petrels we found a few European Storm-Petrels and also had a brief flyby of a breeding plumaged Pomarine Jaeger, complete with spatulated tail!
We were able to pick out 2-3 Spectacled Petrels in amongst the many White-chinned Petrels and we had another Manx Shearwater, this time briefly sat on the water. A few Subantarctic Skuas were seen coming in to inspect our boast for fish scraps and finally we located some giant petrels; a couple Northern Giant Petrels of varying age. Cape Fur Seals kept us entertained, appearing right alongside the boats before disappearing down below.
We stopped briefly at Partridge Point on the way back for close-up views of breeding Bank Cormorants as well as Cape, Crowned and White-breasted Cormorants. A few groups of African Penguin were seen just off Boulders Beach before returning to Simon's Town Harbour, ending a very pleasant day at sea.
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross
Northern Giant Petrel
Southern Giant Petrel
Wilson's Storm Petrel
Cape Fur Seal
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
guides Dominic Rollinson and Dalton Gibbs.
To book, simply email
or phone us, or submit a
booking enquiry online.