Trip Highlights: Four albatross species, Flesh-footed Shearwater, Pomarine Jaeger, Southern Giant Petrel, Subantarctic Skua and Sabine's Gull.
We departed Simon's Town harbour early on Saturday morning in perfect weather. The trip list started with several common coastal species - Kelp and Hartlaub's Gulls, Common, Swift and Sandwich Terns. Large numbers of Cape and White-breasted Cormorants were seen roosting on the large rocks just outside of the harbour.
African Penguins were seen roosting on the beach and rocks at Boulders Beach penguin colony. We spotted our first Cape Gannets on the run down to Cape Point.
Once past the iconic Cape Point we quickly encountered our first pelagic species: White-chinned Petrel, Sooty and Cory's Shearwaters. A single Pomarine Jaeger was seen harassing an unlucky Swift Tern.
We found a trawler some 15 nautical miles south-west of Cape Point. We quickly added a large number of pelagic species to the day's list. The highlights were four species of albatross - Shy, Black-browed, Indian and Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross. Other species included Great Shearwater, Sabine's Gull, Arctic Tern, Wilson's and European Storm Petrels. We had several good views of Sub-Antarctic (Brown) Skuas hovering just above the boat. The undoubted highlight was a single FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER. It was well hidden in amongst the thousands of White-chinned Petrels. Our last species added at the trawler, before heading back for harbour, was a single Southern Giant Petrel. It settled and preened on the water, allowing us some close views.
On the return journey we saw another two Pomarine Jaegers harassing terns. Once back in False Bay, we had lunch before heading to the cormorant colonies at Partridge Point. We managed good views of the four local marine cormorant species - Bank and White-breasted (Great) Cormorants were breeding. The Crowned and Cape Cormorants were roosting on the rocks. Three African Black Oystercatchers were seen feeding on the exposed mussel beds on the lower rocks.
Just past the Boulders Beach penguin colony we spotted a single Bryde's Whale.
Species seen and approximate numbers:
Shy Albatross - 75-100
Black-Browed Albatross - 50-75
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross - 15-20
Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross - 5-10
Pomarine Jaeger - 3
Great Shearwater - 50-75
Sabine's Gull - 3-5
Arctic Tern - 10-20
White-Chinned Petrel - 1000-2000
Wilson's Storm Petrel - 30-50
European Storm Petrel - 50-100
Sub-Antarctic/Brown Skua - 3-5
Flesh-footed Shearwater - 1
Southern Giant Petrel - 1
Sooty Shearwater - 400-500
Cory's Shearwater - 400-500
African Black Oystercatcher
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 Vincent Ward.
To book, simply email
or phone us, or submit a
booking enquiry online.