Trip Highlights: Parasitic Jaeger, Manx Shearwater, Common Dolphins and Bryde’s Whale
The gale-force south-easterly wind which had been pummeling the Cape of Good Hope for a good few days abated towards the end of the week allowing us to get to sea on the Saturday aboard this pelagics trip led by Cape Town Pelagics guide Cliff Dorse. We left Simon’s Town Harbour with conditions in the bay pleasant but low hanging cloud obscured much of the iconic Cape Peninsula.
We saw our first White-chinned Petrels at the point and as we headed out towards the Bellows we added Sooty Shearwater, Parasitic Jaeger and Shy Albatross. The first few Great Shearwaters of the day were all quite far off, but they came ever close until we were enjoying them right alongside the boat. We continued out towards the trawling grounds and added Wilson’s Storm Petrel and Sabine’s Gull. The two Cape Town Pelagics boats operating that day kept in radio contact and together were eventually able to locate a stern trawler some way out.
As we approached the trawler the numbers of birds started to increase dramatically. We soon added Black-browed Albatross, Pintado Petrel, Northern Giant Petrel and European Storm Petrel. Sub-antarctic Skua was uncharacteristically scarce and we encountered only two on the day. We also only picked out one Southern Giant Petrel in amongst the more numerous Northern’s. We also had several views of immature Yellow-nosed Albatross but unfortunately no adults were seen on the day. We could see a long-liner fishing boat a few miles to the south so we decided to investigate. There were also good numbers of birds in attendance but unfortunately nothing new for the day list.
The north-westerly wind was starting to strengthen and the bumpy conditions in the deep dictated that we head for the relative calm of False Bay to enjoy our lunch. The trip back was punctuated with two individual Manx Shearwaters and an incredibly friendly Sun Fish which came really close to the boat and even put its head out of the water a few times. After our enjoyable lunch our final stretch to the harbor was further interrupted by a group of Common Dolphins and a single Bryde’s Whale. A great way to end off a good day at sea!
The mandatory stop at the Bank Cormorant breeding colony at Partridge Point produced good views of three species – Bank, Cape and White-breasted Cormorant.
The following is a list of the species seen during the course of the day. The numbers reflected can be considered as rough estimations only.
Shy Albatross c. 200
Black-browed Albatross c. 20
Yellow-nosed Albatross sp 5 immatures
Southern Giant Petrel 1
Northern Giant Petrel 5
Pintado Petrel c. 10
White-chinned Petrel c. 200
Sooty Shearwater c. 80
Great Shearwater c. 50
Manx Shearwater 2
Wilson's Storm Petrel c. 20
European Storm Petrel c. 50
Sub-antarctic Skua 2
Parasitic Jaeger 4
Sabine's Gull 10
The following species were encountered close to the coast:
African Black Oyster-catcher
Cape fur seal
Bryde’s Whale 1
Common Dolphin 10
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 Cliff Dorse.
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