Cape Pelagic Trip Report, December 2016

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 7 DECEMBER 2016

By Vince Ward

 HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Spectacled Petrel and Great-winged Petrel
  • Bryde’s Whale and Long-beaked Common Dolphin
  • Four species of albatross
  • Pomarine Jaeger
  • Four species of marine cormorants

As we set out of Simonstown Harbor we quickly added CAPE and WHITE-BREASTED CORMORANTS, KELP and HARTLAUB’S GULLS, and COMMON, GREATER CRESTED, and SANDWICH TERNS to the day’s list.

Just past the breakwater a POMARINE JAEGER was sighted harassing a flock of GREATER CRESTED TERNS. No sooner had we finished with the jaeger when a trio of Bryde’s whales, including a calf, was sighted. Sun-bathing AFRICAN PENGUINS could be seen on the shore at the Boulder’s Beach penguin colony.

We stopped at Cape Point for the obligatory photo opportunity before heading out into the open ocean. CAPE GANNETS were present in good numbers just off the point.

As we encountered the oceanic swells the first of the day’s WHITE-CHINNED PETRELS and SOOTY and CORY’S SHEARWATERS were seen.

We received reports on the location of several working trawlers and headed off to find them.

At the first vessel we quickly spotted SHY, BLACK-BROWEDATLANTIC YELLOW-NOSED, and INDIAN YELLOW-NOSED ALBATROSSNORTHERN and SOUTHERN GIANT PETRELSGREAT SHEARWATER, SABINE’S GULL, BROWN SKUA, and EUROPEAN STORM PETREL. Cape fur seals were ever present.

At the next trawler we located the very sought-after SPECTACLED PETREL as well as several GREAT-WINGED PETRELS.

We spent some time enjoying the spectacle of thousands of pelagic seabirds before heading back to land.

The trip back to shore offered more of the same species we had seen throughout the day. Large numbers of terns were feeding at Cape Point and into False Bay.

We briefly stopped at Partridge Point to view the resident breeding BANK CORMORANTS.

Just past Froggy Pond, the call of “dolphins” went out. A pod of around three dozen long-beaked common dolphins joined the boat and stayed with us until just past Boulder’s Beach – a great way to cap off an excellent trip!

While going over the species list we spotted a CROWNED CORMORANT, rounding out the four South African marine cormorant species for the day.

 

Thanks to Dave and Josh for their excellent skippering.

 

SPECIES LISTS

 

SEABIRDS

  • Shy Albatross
  • Black-browed Albatross
  • Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross
  • Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross
  • Northern Giant Petrel
  • Southern Giant Petrel
  • White-chinned Petrel
  • Spectacled Petrel
  • Great-winged Petrel
  • Sooty Shearwater
  • Cory’s Shearwater
  • Great Shearwater
  • European Storm Petrel
  • African Penguin
  • Cape Cormorant
  • Bank Cormorant
  • Crowned Cormorant
  • White-breasted Cormorant
  • Kelp Gull
  • Hartlaub’s Gull
  • Sabine’s Gull
  • Pomarine Jaeger
  • Brown Skua
  • Common Tern
  • Sandwich Tern
  • Greater Crested Tern
  • Cape Gannet

MARINE MAMMALS

  • Bryde’s whale Balaenoptera edeni
  • Cape fur seal Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus
  • Long-beaked common dolphin Delphinus capensis