Trip Highlights: Manx Shearwater, 5 Albatross species, Sabine's Gull, Sunfish and Humpback Whales.
Just after 7am on Sunday morning a group of birders left Simon's Town with no wind and a flat sea aboard a Cape Town Pelagics trip led by Alvin Cope. The trip to Cape Point was uneventful and the first pelagic birds were seen in the company of many terns and cormorants approximately 3 miles beyond the Point.
At about 7 miles we were joined by four Dusky Dolphins and a few birds were seen in the company of 3 purse seiners at about 12 miles, and produced a good look at a medium sized Sunfish. Although no vessels were seen on the outside, we headed further out in few birds, the only excitement being a Humpback Whale which sounded straight away and a Manx Shearwater which was only exciting for me!
We joined two other pelagic birding boats out from Hout Bay at about 20 miles, their slick producing the first Pintado Petrel, Sabine's Gull and a distant Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross. A trawler was located and we headed out following her at about 25 miles. (I must add here that there were five other pelagic birding boats with this trawler - a product of the World Seabird Conference in Cape Town - and four of those were arranged by Cape Town Pelagics!) The trawler skipper very kindly hove to, hauled and shot the net so we spent the rest of the trip in its wake, getting brilliant views of all the regulars, before heading home in conditions still calm, but with a light following wind.
Half way between the Bellows and the Point we were treated to a breaching ±one year old Humpback Whale accompanied by at least one big parent. The whale jumped at leased 15 times, the adult showing itself a few times before both sounded. In the calm conditions, even at some distance, we could hear the blows.
Of interest, although early, no northern Parasitics
Species seen and approximate numbers:
Shy Albatross - 70
Black browed Albatross - 50
Atlantic Yellow-Nosed Albatross - 5
Indian Yellow-Nosed Albatross - 2
Yellow-Nosed Albatross Sp - 3
Southern Giant Petrel - 1
Northen Giant Petrel - 1
Giant Petrel Sp - 4
White Chinned Petrel - 200
Sooty Shearwater - 6
Pintado Petrel - 40
Great Shearwater - 100
Manx Shearwater - 1
Wilson's Storm Petrel - 30
Sub Antarctic Skua - 6
Sabine's Gull - 4
Common Tern - 100
Arctic Tern - 2
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 Alvin Cope.
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