What you can expect from a typical Pelagic Birding day.
Another ZfB pelagic trip took place on 12 April 2014, this time departing out of Hout Bay and guided by Trevor Hardaker and John Graham. Conditions were absolutely idyllic, with minimal wind, a glassy sea and fine clear skies. We skimmed out on a south westerly course, accumulating superb views (and hopefully great photo’s for those on board) of Great and Cory’s Shearwaters gliding alongside the boat with crisp reflections rising to meet them as they descended close to the smooth surface.
The skipper, Sean, had located a group of trawlers and fishing boats in the deep and we headed rapidly in their direction. We visited three Sea Harvest trawlers and spent a good time in their wake, watching the trawl nets being pulled with close attention from huge numbers of pelagic birds. We also drifted down the wake on occasions and sifted through the many thousands of birds sat on the calm waters.
Undoubted highlight of the day was a superb adult Chatham Island Albatross, only the sixth record ever in our waters and the second ever seen from a local pelagic birding trip. Other notable species in the supporting cast were a speeding Spectacled Petrel and a more friendly Manx Shearwater. Two late European Storm Petrels and a single Sabine’s Gull were also noted. Non-avian highlights were a Loggerhead Turtle, 5 Yellowtail clear visible through the crystal waters, and repeated looks at Skipjack and Yellowfin Tuna.
The full list for the day was as follows, with numbers being approximations only:
Chatham Island Albatross – 1 adult Shy Albatross – c1500 Black-browed Albatross – c500 Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross – c50 Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross – 3 Spectacled Petrel – 1 White-chinned Petrel – c2500 Sooty Shearwater – c500 Manx Shearwater – 1, twice Great Shearwater – c3500, including two huge flocks in rafts on return voyage Cory’s Shearwater – c20 Wilson’s Storm Petrel – c5000 European Storm Petrel – 2 Subantarctic Skua – c20 Pomarine Skua – 1 Sabines Gull – 1 Cape Gannet – frequently seen, small numbers
Loggerhead Turtle – 1 Yellowfin Tuna – 1 Skipjack – Many Yellowtail – 5
Many thanks to Sean Amor for a really great pelagic experience. We have a number of trips scheduled over the coming months, so please refer to our webpage for further details and contact Trevor or myself to make a reservation.
Kind regards John.