Trip Highlights: 4 Albatross species, Giant Petrel, Flesh-footed Shearwater, Common and Dusky Dolphins.
Eight birders departed Hout Bay at 07h30 aboard a Cape Town Pelagics trip with tour leader Barrie Rose on board.
A north-westerly wind caused us to run a more westerly course than usual. Within 3 miles of the harbour we crossed paths we a small school of Dusky Dolphins. The trip offshore produced the usual White-chinned Petrels and Sooty Shearwaters and by 8 miles we had seen a few Shy Albatross and had another school of dolphins, this time Common Dolphins, that were bow-riding briefly.
At 15 miles we met with a rain squall and while interrogating the radar and deciding the best route to find a trawler we chummed a good flock of White-chins and Shy Albatross to the vessel. An Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross and some Wilson's Storm Petrels were welcome additions to the list.
With a radar target resembling a trawler and some radio contact with long-liners we adjusted our course and were again on our way offshore.
At 22 miles we came upon a hake long-liner which was yet to haul its line and begin working fish which would attract a feeding flock. We did however pick up on a Flesh-footed Shearwater which made 2 close passes before disappearing into the flock of wheeling White-chins. A Giant Petrel remained too far off to ID to species. A trawler then showed up in the area and we spent 30 minutes behind the 'Lucerne' as it fished through our area heading south. Great Shearwater, Pintado Petrel and Subantarctic Skua were new species.
Not wanting to follow the trawler too far south because of the weather we headed back to the long-liner which was now hauling its line and processing fish. Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross which have been had hard to come by over the past few months were the first birds to catch our attention and we were entertained by a group of 7 yellow-noses (6 Atlantics and an Indian) feeding meters off the long-liner. We spent an hour and a half with the long-liner before the wind started to come up.
We headed back to Hout Bay across a stiff north-westerly breeze and docked at 14h45.
Species seen and approximate numbers:
Shy Albatross - 400+
Black-browed Albatross - 150+
Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross - 15
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross - 4
Giant Petrel sp. - 1
White-chinned Petrel - ca 1000
Pintado Petrel - 200+
Sooty Shearwater - 15+
Great Shearwater - 4
Flesh-footed Shearwater - 1
Wilson's Storm-Petrel - 800+
Subantarctic Skua - 6
Cape Gannet - 300+
Arctic Tern - 1
Common Tern - coastal
Swift Tern - coastal
Kelp Gull - 50 and coastal
Cape Cormorant coastal
White-breasted Cormorant - coastal
Hartlaub's Gull - coastal
Cape Fur Seal - 100+
Dusky Dolphin - 6
Common Dolphin - 15
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.
To book, simply email
or phone us, or submit a
booking enquiry online.