Trip Highlights: 4 Albatross species, Parasitic and Arctic Jaeger, Great-winged and Northern Giant Petrel, Sabine's Gull and Great Shearwater. African Black Oystercatcher and African Penguin on the coast.
On Saturday 24 January, 6 birders from Europe boarded the Destiny on another Cape Town Pelagics trip led by Cliff Dorse. Strong winds in the deep, which were predicted to drop markedly by midday, facilitated a delayed start at 08h30. We were soon traveling through a choppy False Bay sea enjoying the terns, gannets and a solitary White-chinned Petrel before Cape Point.
It was only at about 3 miles after the point when the sea started to flatten out a bit. We also started getting ever increasingly better views of White-chinned Petrel as well as some Sooty Shearwaters. At about 10 miles from the point, we saw our first Shy Albatross of the day and had two Parasitic Jaegers put in a brief appearance. After 10 miles we also started to encounter good number of Cory's Shearwaters and some Sabine's Gulls.
We continued out towards the trawling grounds but unfortunately no trawlers or long liners were in the vicinity. There were however very many commercial and recreational fishing boats in the area which were targeting Yellow-fin Tuna. We slowly worked up and down between the boats and soon added Black-browned and Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross as well as both Wilson's and European Storm Petrels. Great Shearwaters and Subantarctic Skua also gave good views while only one Giant Petrel was seen, a juvenile Northern. It took quite a bit of effort before we encountered our one and only Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross and two separate Great-winged Petrels. The wind had prematurely swung and it was blowing out of the north west. Reports from boats in False Bay informed us that it was alredy blowing at 20 knots at Cape Point. As such, we decided to head for home after a great lunch in the deep.
In False Bay the mandatory stop at Partridge Point produced Bank, Cape and White-breasted Cormorants. The last of the marine cormorants, Crowned were located in the Simon's Town Harbour.
Species seen and approximate numbers:
Shy Albatross c. 50
Black-browed Albatross c. 10
Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross 1
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross 2
Northern Giant Petrel 1
Great-winged Petrel 2
White-chinned Petrel c. 200
Cory's Shearwater c. 150
Great Shearwater 5
Sooty Shearwater c. 20
European Storm Petrel c. 20
Wilson's Storm Petrel c. 50
Arctic Jaeger 2
Subantarctic Skua 5
Sabine's Gull c. 10
African Black Oystercatcher
Cape Fur Seal
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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