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OFF-SHORE BIRDING TRIP AT GANSBAAI

Posted on the 20th February 2015

On Friday 6 February and Monday 9 February I went with Dyer Island Cruises to do some off-shore birding around Dyer Island and the area south of Danger Point.

Cape Gannets following Common Dolphins.

On Friday we saw a few Kelp Gulls around the shark viewing boats halfway between Dyer Island and Kleinbaai. Leaving the shark boats for Dyer Island we spotted a single Southern Giant Petrel and some Sooty Shearwaters. Close to Dyer Island we observed on-shore African Penguins, Kelp Gulls, Cape Cormorants and some terns (too far to ID). Another Southern Giant Petrel flew past at Shark Alley. Then we sailed to the deeper waters some 10 km to the south. There was some bird activity, and Cory`s Shearwater, more Sooty`s and Cape Gannets were spotted.

          

Cory's Shearwater                                                                                                                                                   Southern Giant-Petrel

Sailing back towards Kleinbaai we saw terns feeding in the distance. On closer observation there was a mixed group of Swift and Common Terns feeding together with a few Cape Gannets. There were more Cory`s Shearwater present and a Pomarine Jaeger was chasing the terns to rob them of their catch.

Not far from here we saw lot of movement in the distance and sailing towards it, we saw a large shoal of Common Dolphins chasing fish with lots of Cape Gannet, Cape Cormorant and a few Kelp Gulls in pursuit. This was a incredible sight with all these animals surrounding the boat jumping in and out of the water close to us. 

Cape Gannets, Cape Cormorants and Kelp Gulls following Common Dolphins.

On Monday we departed from Kleinbaai towards Danger Point and near Danger Point we stopped close to a massive flock of Cape Cormorants floating together. Shortly after this they started flying all around us, thousands of them clapping their wings, so close that one could smell them.

Cape Cormorants

Leaving the cormorants we proceeded to deeper waters and found some Cory`s and Sooty Shearwaters and a few White-chinned Petrels. Near Gansbaai harbour a small pod of Common Dolphins was encountered, but they were not so active as Friday`s pod. 

          

White-chinned Petrel                                                                                                                                  Cory's Shearwater taking off.

Moving back to deeper waters near Danger Point we started seeing Cape Gannets flying south and we followed them with the flock of Cape Cormorants in pursuit. After a few km's we saw birds feeding and on arrival saw lots of gannets diving, with cormorants doing the same. This lasted for a few minutes.

Diving Cape Gannets.

On two occasions a camera drone was launched to film the dolphins and cormorants feeding and both times the cormorants started to circle the boat with the drone above them. This circling stopped as soon the drone was back on board. Very interesting!

I must thank Wilfred Chivell and Dyer Island Cruises for this great experience.

Riaan Jacobs

(BirdLife Overberg)

All photos by Riaan Jacobs

          

White-chinned Petrel                                                                                                                                                           Cape Gannets

 

Cape Gannet

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