Sea Birding Pelagic Trips South Africa, Cape Town Pelagics


  Trip Reports - Trip report for 13 August 2005





Despite the intermittent showers and breeze, a group of 6 birders left Simon’s Town harbour on a Cape Town Pelagics trip, early on Saturday 13 August. We made good time out to the point, and picked up the usual gulls, terns, gannets and cormorants on the way. A couple of African Penguins were also seen in the water. At the point we had a Giant Petrel, and good numbers of other procellariiforms. The seas were rough with a north-westerly wind breaking things up, but before we had got out to the deeper water, we were given things to take our minds off the weather. The first of several Soft-plumaged Petrels came in close and gave good views. Not long later, the trip’s only Antarctic Prion was seen off to starboard. It circled round the boat twice and came in close, giving everyone on board great views.

We found a trawler at about 30 nm off the point, and it had just finished hauling and re-deploying, so the numbers of birds in its wake were stupendous – with more Pintado Petrels than you could wave a stick at! We stuck with the trawler for several hours, and all the usual species put in excellent, close appearances. Some passengers nearly lost their caps to incautious Pintados that were flying easily within arms-reach of us. It was fantastic, but then it got better. A Wandering Albatross came in from our stern and cruised passed languidly. From the minimal white showing in the wings and slightly mottled back I estimate it was a young male or an adult female. Not 5 minutes later another Wanderer, this time an all-dark juvenile, was seen, although it stayed some distance off.

Never a dull moment was had, and we had just relaxed into enjoying watching the Shys and picking out the odd Yellow-nosed albatrosses when a pale bird with a different jizz was identified as a Southern Fulmar, the first for a pelagic trip this year! It gave excellent views, and was around the trawler for at least half an hour. It capped off an extremely good and very memorable pelagic trip.



  Pelagic birds seen and approximate numbers



Wandering Albatross 2
Shy Albatross 300
Black-browed Albatross 800
Yellow-nosed Albatross 2
Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross 2
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross 4
Southern Giant Petrel 3
Northern Giant Petrel 4
Giant Petrel sp 4
White-chinned Petrel 500
Pintado Petrel 1000 +
Soft-plumaged Petrel 10
Antarctic Prion - 1
Sooty Shearwater 200
Wilson 's Storm Petrel 50
Subantarctic Skua 20
Southern Fulmar 1
Antarctic Tern 1