- 1 NORTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS
- 2 WANDERING ALBATROSSES
- 1 SOUTHERN FULMAR
- 2 GREAT-WINGED PETRELS
Inclement weather caused the weekend pelagic trip to be cancelled.
Cape Town Pelagics managed to find enough punters to salvage
a trip for the following day. Monday 29 August was eagerly
awaited by the birders who gathered on Simon’s Town
quay side for the departure of the Ocean Warrior to the pelagic
grounds off Cape Point. The trip was lead by Dalton Gibbs.
Soon after we left the harbour we spotted a southern right
whale and shortly thereafter a Subantarctic Skua put in an
appearance. It seemed as if the recent cold front with its
strong winds was going to bring some surprises.
The first vessel we picked up on was an active longliner.
Around it were a relatively small flock of commoner pelagic
species, however, we picked up an Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross
After an hour with the long liner we moved to deeper water
and soon found a trawler. Our timing was perfect, for as soon
as we arrived she started hauling in the nets which attracted
the usual flock of several hundred birds. We settled amongst
this mixture of birds and had excellent close range views
of Shy, Black-browed, Indian Yellow-nosed and Atlantic Yellow-nosed
albatrosses. Both Northern and Southern Giant Petrels mixed
with Sooty Shearwater and Wilson's storm petrels dashed amongst
the groups of birds. Just as we thought the spectacle of the
numbers and variety of birds could not get any better, the
cry went up for a SOUTHERN FULMAR. Good views were obtained
of this bird as we slowly cruised past it.
Within a few minutes more excited cries rang out as a large
white backed albatross was sighted some distance away to the
south and heading into the wind. Dave Christie, the skipper
of the Ocean Warrior, gave chase. The boat fairly flew over
the water and soon closed the gap on what was a NORTHERN ROYAL
ALBATROSS. As we were watching it, amazingly our binocular
vision was filled with another very large bird – this
time a WANDERING ALBATROSS, and for a brief moment we had
the pleasure of seeing both birds fly along side each other
With these large birds heading off into the southern ocean,
we sailed once more slowly past the lines of birds feeding
behind the trawler, all the time scanning for spectacled petrel
which we failed to find. We turned our bows for home, we got
on to the first GREAT SHEARWATER of the season – it
doesn’t get much better than this! A further three Southern
Right Whales were seen on the way back to Cape Point and another
awaited us at Simon’s Town harbour, rounding off a fabulous
Cape Town Pelagics trip.