Trip Highlights: a juvenile Wandering Albatross, Long-tailed & Pomarine Skua, Southern & Northern Giant Petrels.
A Cape Town Pelagics trip departed Simon's Town at 07h15 on a Wednesday morning with pelagic bird guide, Barrie Rose on board.
Conditions were virtually windless and the trip to Cape Point was pleasant although uneventful with only coastal species been recorded.
Outside Cape Point we headed across a light southerly breeze as we journeyed towards the fishing grounds. Our first pelagic birds were Sooty Shearwaters, White-chinned Petrels and Cory's Shearwaters. These were seen in fairly good numbers as we headed through flocks of feeding terns and cormorants within the first 5 miles off Cape Point.
As we moved further offshore we gathered more species including Great Shearwater, Northern Giant Petrel and Subantarctic Skua. At fifteen miles we saw our first albatross which was a Shy Albatross. At 20 miles we came across a hake trawler which had a substantial flock of birds around it. We quickly added 3 more albatross species, Black-browed and two Yellow-nosed, to the list before an unseasonal Wandering Albatross crossed our wake. The bird was a spectacular juvenile and showed itself a further 3 or 4 times over the next hour. Large flocks of Wilson's and European Storm-Petrels pattered on the surface feeding on the oily fish scraps.
After an hour the trawler raised its net causing a feeding frenzy as the 2000+ flock of birds fought and squabbled over fish escaping from the net. We spent another hour watching this spectacle and adding Sabine's Gull, Long-tailed Skua (Jaeger) and Arctic Tern to the list before starting the 25 mile steam back to Cape Point.
The trip back to Cape Point was fairly uneventful with some large rafts of Cory's Shearwater and a single Pomarine Skua (Jaeger).
Inside Cape Point we paid the Partridge Point Bank Cormorant colony and seal roost a visit before heading back to Simon's Town.
Wandering Albatross - 1
Shy Albatross - 100
Black-browed Albatross - 40
Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross - 3
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross - 1
Northern Giant Petrel - 1
Southern Giant Petrel - 1
White-chinned Petrel - ca 1500
Sooty Shearwater - 150
Cory's Shearwater - 300
Great Shearwater - 50
Wilson's Storm-Petrel - 200
European Storm-Petrel - 200
Subantarctic Skua - 6
Pomarine Skua - 1
Long-tailed Skua - 3
Sabine's Gull - 4
Cape Gannet - 100
Arctic Tern - 3
Common Tern - 50
Swift Tern - coastal and to 8mls
Kelp Gull - 150 and coastal
Cape Cormorant coastal and to 5mls
White-breasted Cormorant - coastal
Bank Cormorant - coastal
African Penguin - coastal
Cape Fur Seal - 100+
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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