Trip Highlights: Four Albatross species, Black-bellied Storm Petrel, Parasitic Jaeger, Great-winged Petrel, Southern and Northern Giant Petrels.
Six birders departed Simon's Town at 07h15 on board a Cape Town Pelagics trip with Barrie Rose the guide for the day.
The trip up to Cape Point was pleasant across a calm sea with gannets, cormorants and coastal terns being our only sightings. Stopping at Cape Point for the photographic opportunity we saw our first true pelagic bird in the form of White-chinned Petrel. This was soon followed by several Sooty Shearwaters and a Southern Giant Petrel. Conditions were quite mild and we made good time as we steamed in a south-westerly direction towards the Cape Canyon. Species soon started to accumulate and Shy Albatross and Great Shearwater were added to the list.
At 18 miles we found the hake trawler Freesia and as we approached bird numbers and species increased. Black-browed Albatross, Pintado Petrel, Wilson's Storm-Petrel and Subantarctic Skua were new for the day. The trawler had a substantial flock of birds in its wake and as we sifted through the birds we added Atlantic and Indian Yellow-nosed Albatrosses, Northern Giant Petrel and Black-bellied Storm-Petrel to the list. We followed the trawler for some miles experiencing the frenzy that follows the hauling of a catch. We eventually turned for home at 24 miles. On the way back to Cape Point we crossed paths with a second trawler where we added Arctic Tern to the list.
The steam back to shore was pleasant and we saw Great-winged Petrel while still far offshore and Parasitic Jaeger about 5 miles off Cape Point.
We partook of a pleasant lunch on the calm waters inside Cape Point before visiting the Bank Cormorant breeding and Cape Fur Seal rookery at Partridge Point.
Lastly we viewed a large group of African Penguin near Ark Rock before docking in Simon's Town at 15h00.
Species seen and approximate numbers:
Shy Albatross - 300+
Black-browed Albatross - 250+
Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross - 6
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross - 2
Southern Giant Petrel - 3
Northern Giant Petrel - 2
White-chinned Petrel - ca 1500
Great-winged Petrel - 2
Pintado Petrel - 50+
Sooty Shearwater - 100+
Great Shearwater - 800+
Wilson's Storm-Petrel - 20+
Black-bellied Storm-Petrel - 20+
Subantarctic Skua - 6
Parasitic Jaeger - 2
Cape Gannet - 200+
Swift Tern - coastal
Common Tern - 50+ and coastal
Arctic Tern - 15+
Kelp Gull - 150 and coastal
Cape Cormorant coastal
White-breasted Cormorant - coastal
Bank Cormorant - coastal
Crowned Cormorant - coastal
Jackass Penguin - coastal
Cape Fur Seal - 100+ and coastal
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 Barrie Rose.
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