Sea Birding Pelagic Trips South Africa, Cape Town Pelagics


  Trip Reports - Trip report for 11 March 2007




1 Manx Shearwater

A Cape Town Pelagics trip left Simon’s Town on the Blue Pointer, guided by Ross Wanless, Peter Ryan and Meidad Goren. The bay was superbly calm, and we picked up a couple of Arctic Skuas harassing Swift Terns while still in the bay. A low mist reduced visibility around the point, but did not prevent us from getting on to a Pomarine Skua, although it could have shown itself better. We made excellent time out to the deep and by 9.30 we were alongside a trawler, about 25 miles out. As if on cue, she pulled up her nets and we soon picked up all the albatrosses and smaller species that were present. Two particular events are worth mentioning. One was a MANX SHEARWATER that we stopped for and of which we got excellent views. The second was what can only be described as a swarm of storm-petrels. There were about 200 individuals (they appeared to be Europeans, but it was difficult to tell) flying together in such a tight pack that they looked like a small dark cloud moving over the water. I personally have never seen anything like that before.

We stayed with the trawler for close to two hours, until the 30 nm mark, at which point the bird numbers started to tail off rapidly, and we headed back to Simon’s Town. Pete, Meidad and I agreed that we have never seen so few albatrosses behind a trawler. With winter approaching, however, that should change! We stopped off at Partridge Point to find at least 18 active Bank Cormorant nests, plus the other three marine cormorant species (White-breasted, Crowned and Cape) simultaneously on the same rock, allowing great photo ops and close comparisons.



  Pelagic birds



Shy Albatross 10
Black-browed Albatross 5
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross 6
White-chinned Petrel 200
Sooty Shearwater 100
Great Shearwater 10
Cory's Shearwater 50
Manx Shearwater 1
European Storm-Petrel 300
Wilson's Storm-Petrel 50
Subantarctic Skua 3
Arctic Skua 5
Pomarine Skua 1
Sabine's Gull 20
Arctic Tern 5
Common Tern 10
Kelp Gull 50
Cape Gannet 50

  Coastal species



African Penguin
Hartlaub’s Gull
Swift Tern
White breasted Cormorant
Bank Cormorant
Cape Cormorant
Crowned Cormorant

Cape Fur Seal


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