Sea Birding Pelagic Trips South Africa, Cape Town Pelagics


  Trip Reports - 5 august 2007

By Cliff Dorse
Hump-backed Whales



On Sunday morning 5 August a Cape Town Pelagics trip left for the deep aboard the Obsession. We were rewarded with a Southern Right Whale shortly after we had left the harbour. The usual array of common coastal birds accompanied us as we headed through a somewhat choppy False Bay. As always the spectacular scenery of the Cape Peninsula bathed in the early morning sunlight was something to behold.

Shortly after the point we entered the usual hive of activity in the vicinity of Bellows with good numbers of White-chinned Petrels and Sooty Shearwaters about. An immature Shy proved not only to be the first albatross of the day but also the first Albatross ever seen by some of the ecstatic guests. We encountered two trawlers operating relatively close in, at about 16 miles. As we neared the vessels the bird numbers and diversity started to grow. Black-browed Albatross, Pintado Petrel, Sub-antarctic Skua, Southern Giant Petrel and Indian Ocean Yellow-nosed Albatross were all in attendance. We visited both trawlers and spent some time waiting for the one to retrieve its net. It was at this point we managed to get good views of one of only three Wilson’s Storm Petrels encountered on the day. When the net came up, the birds came in and everyone had their fill of awesome pelagic seabirds.

On route back we encountered two Hump-backed Whales at about 8 miles from the point. We spent some time with these majestic creatures and were rewarded with some of the best views I have ever had. Back in the bay we made the mandatory stop at Castle Rock to view the Bank Cormorants. The birds have commenced breeding activities with some individuals carrying seaweed for their nests around.



  Pelagic birds



Swift Tern - coastal
Kelp Gull - coastal
Hartlaub’s Gull - coastal
White-breasted Cormorant - coastal
Cape Cormorant - coastal
Bank Cormorant - coastal
Crowned Cormorant - coastal
African Penguin - coastal
Cape Gannet - coastal & pelagic
Subantarctic Skua 10
Shy Albatross 300
Black-browed Albatross 200
Indian Ocean Yellow-nosed Albatross 5
Yellow-nosed Albatross (Immature) 5
Southern Giant Petrel 3
Pintado Petrel 500
White-chinned Petrel 250
Sooty Shearwater 250
Wilson ’s Storm Petrel 3

 Marine mammals



Cape fur seal - coastal & pelagic
Southern right whale - 1
Hump-backed whale - 2


Thanks to everyone on board for helping make such an enjoyable trip!