- 2 SPECTACLED PETRELS
A Cape Town Pelagics trip departed Simon's Town on Sunday
29 January 2006, led by Ross Wanless and assisted by Onno
Huyser. We set off in calm conditions and what promised to
be an unusually calm day. We made Cape Point in just 35 minutes,
and conditions outside the bay were superb. We picked up a
Giant Petrel and a White-chinned Petrel very early on, and
a few miles further Chris Fallows advised us over the radio
that he was on a current-line that had attracted lots of Cory’s
and Sooty shearwaters and promised to be interesting. We were
not let down, as we were able to get good views of the first
Manx Shearwater of the trip, as well as enjoying sustained,
close-up views of the other shearwaters. A surprise visitor
in the form of a Great Shearwater put our shearwater total
at 4, and we were barely off Cape Point!
Another skipper advised us that a trawler was operating quite
far out, so we set off. Fortunately the Blue Pointer is a
really fast boat, and the weather allowed us to get out there
quickly, as we ended up having to go an extra 10 miles (32
NM off the point) to find an active trawler, having found
virtually no birds behind a longliner and another trawler
along the way. This trawler had birds in attendance, although
in very small numbers. Nevertheless when the nets were finally
hauled we were able to get brilliant views of four albatross
species, as well as lots of other regulars. Fairly early on
we were able to enjoy a SPECTACLED PETREL at close range!
This is the third successive CTP trip that has had Ringeyes!
We later found a second (although possibly the same individual
as earlier). The calm weather held and we enjoyed a very fast
run home. Although the absolute numbers of birds seen are
amongst the lowest for any trip I have done, especially given
that we found three fishing vessels, we were able to rack
up a good diversity of birds and had a superb day on the water.