17 September 2011 – Heading out into the deep blue yonder…

Weather predictions looked good as we left on another Zest for Birds pelagic trip out of Simon’s Town this morning (Trevor co-guiding with John Graham and Barrie Rose). The trip down False Bay to Cape Point was fairly quiet with just the odd Cape Gannet, White-chinned Petrel and Subantarctic Skuas making appearances. Once around Cape Point, we encountered our first Sooty Shearwaters as well as good views of a couple of Humpback Whales which passed by the boat fairly close. The trip out into the deep water was unusually quiet with low numbers of birds although our first Shy Albatrosses and Southern Giant Petrels of the trip had everyone on board excited.

Cape Gannet

Subantarctic Skua

Sooty Shearwater

Shy Albatross

Eventually, we picked up a trawler working in the distance and made our way over towards it. As we got closer, we could see that there were birds around the trawler, but not the huge numbers that we are accustomed to. Fortunately, not long after us reaching the trawler, it started hauling its nets and, as soon as the familiar sound of the steel doors that keep the mouth of the trawl net open hitting the back of the trawler as they were being hauled in was heard, birds just appeared out of nowhere. Within minutes, we were surrounded by hundreds, if not thousands, of birds fighting for their place at the back of the trawler to get some food along with good numbers of Cape Fur Seals as well.

The trawl net surfaces and the havoc starts...

Stuff yourself while you can...

Black-browed Albatrosses, Pintado Petrels, Wilson’s Storm Petrels and small numbers of both Common and Arctic Terns were picked out as we scanned through the flocks. Unfortunately, despite some intensive searching, we could not find anything out of the ordinary in the melee and the best bird turned out to be a single Sabine’s Gull, our first for the season. Eventually, it was time to start heading back. The trip home was, once again, uneventful with only a handful of Humpback Whales breaking the monotony of the regular bird species we had encountered throughout the day already. It was certainly one of the quieter days, species-wise, that we have spent at sea in recent months…

Pintado Petrel

Black-browed Albatross

Sabine's Gull

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~ by hardakerwildlife on September 20, 2011.

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