Trip Highlights: 6 species of albatross including 3 Wanderers and a Northern Royal Albatross, Black-bellied Storm-petrel, Southern & Northern Giant Petrels, Spectacled Petrel and Arctic Terns.
This morning's great weather saw two Cape Town Pelagic vessels steam out of Simon's Town harbour at 07h15 and head south down False Bay and beyond Cape Point! This boat with 10 excited birders on board and led by Barrie Rose.
Just before Cape Point we picked up our first White-chinned Petrel. There was little activity at Cape Point as we started our south-westerly run towards the shelf-edge. Shy Albatross and Great Shearwater soon joined the list and were always present on the run out.
Fishing boats on the horizon caused spirits to rise and as we approached we came across an unusual tight flock of 50+ Black-bellied Storm-Petrels.
At 21 miles we arrived at 2 hake liners - 'Estrello do Mar' and 'Hi Lim' - that were drifting and preparing to haul in their lines. We added Black-browed and Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatrosses, Pintado Petrels and Southern Giant Petrels.
A trawler 2 miles to our SE caught our attention and we headed off towards it. That decision was good as the ‘Fuchsia’ had a huge flock of birds in its wake. An Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross and Northern Giant Petrel were immediate additions to the growing list. Some searching over the next hour produced a Spectacled Petrel and a Wandering Albatross. When the trawler had completed production the flock dispersed and we headed back to the long-liners.
As we steamed towards the liners a Northern Royal Albatross crossed our path providing adequate views for all onboard. At the liners we enjoyed eyeball views of a substantial flock of Black-bellied Storm-Petrels and added a further 2 different Wandering Albatrosses.
The trip back to Cape Point was uneventful expect for a very distant Humpbacked Whale. Inside Cape Point we visited the Bank Cormorant colony and seal roost at Partridge Point before heading back to Simon's Town.
The trip was significant for its 6 species of albatross and large numbers of Black-bellied Storm-Petrels.
Species seen and approximate numbers:
Wandering Albatross - 3
Northern Royal Albatross - 1
Shy Albatross - 200+
Black-browed Albatross - 200+
Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross - 15+
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross - 2
Southern Giant Petrel - 4
Northern Giant Petrel - 2
Giant Petrel sp - 5
White-chinned Petrel - ca 1000
Spectacled Petrel - 1
Pintado Petrel - 80+
Black-bellied Storm-Petrel - 100+
Wilson's Storm-Petrel - 100+
Sooty Shearwater - 6+
Great Shearwater - 1500+
Subantarctic Skua - 3
Cape Gannet - 200+
Swift Tern - coastal
Arctic Tern - 5
Common Tern - coastal and offshore
Kelp Gull - 50 and coastal
Cape Cormorant - coastal
White-breasted Cormorant - coastal
Bank Cormorant - coastal
Crowned Cormorant - coastal
African Penguin - coastal
Humpbacked Whale - 2
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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