Trip Highlights: ORCAS. Link to photos on our Facebook page
Early Sunday morning we set out from Simon's Town in amazingly flat conditions and headed south towards Cape Point. We encountered several African Penguins going out to feed, just offshore of Boulders Beach penguin colony.
Once reaching Cape Point, we encountered a massive feeding frenzy of several hundred seabirds, including Cape Gannets, Cape Cormorants; Common, Sandwich and Greater Crested (Swift) Tern, Kelp Gull, a few Sooty Shearwaters and White-chinned Petrels.
After enjoying this coastal abundance, we headed south-west to the Cape Canyon. The trip out delivered several Shy Albatrosses and a few Giant Petrels.
We arrived at our destination at the Cape Canyon. Unfortunately there were no trawlers working in the areas. We resorted to chumming and we drew in a variety of species, including Arctic and Common Tern, Shy Albatross, Northern and Southern Giant Petrels, Pintado Petrel, Wilson's Storm Petrel, Cape Gannets, Brown Skua and Kelp Gulls.
Later, the wind started to pick up and we soon turned and started the journey back to the coast. Just before we reached Cape Point a call of "ORCAS" went out. We were treated to a pod of four (male, female, juvenile and calf!!) magnificent marine predators. They were very obliging and we were able to spend nearly 45 minutes following the pod before heading back to the coast once again.
Back in False Bay we headed to the cormorant colonies at Partridge Point. The rocks here had both breeding Bank and White-breasted Cormorants and a few roosting Cape and Crowned Cormorants. We also briefly stopped to view a group of resting Cape Fur Seals and several African Black Oystercatchers before finally heading back to port.
Pelagic species seen and approximate numbers:
Shy Albatross - 5-10
Southern Giant Petrel - 1
Northern Giant Petrel - 3
White-chinned Petrel - 50-75
Sooty Shearwater - 20-30
Pintado Petrel - 1
Wilson's Storm Petrel - 3-5
Brown (sub-Antarctic) Skua - 1
Arctic Tern - 1
African Penguin - 10-15 (at sea)
Cape Gannet - abundant (coastal); 10-20 pelagic
Cape Cormorant - abundant (coastal); 1 pelagic
Bank Cormorant - 20-30 (breeding)
White-breasted Cormorant - 30-40 (breeding)
Crowned Cormorant - 1
Kelp Gull - abundant (coastal); 20-30 (pelagic)
Hartlaub's Gull - common (coastal)
Great Crested (Swift) Tern - abundant (coastal)
Sandwich Tern - abundant (coastal)
Common Tern - abundant (coastal); 10-15 (pelagic)
African Black Oystercatcher - 2 (coastal)
Cape Fur Seal - abundant coastal; 2-5 (pelagic)
Humpback Whale - 3
Orca - 4
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
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