Posted on the 4th April 2022

With the news of big waves and wind from the west, we didn't need any more prompting! Off we went to Pringle Bay for some shorebird viewing. We had visited there a few days earlier but besides the local Terns, Gulls and Cormorants, there were no pelagic birds in sight. What a difference a few days (and a bit of wild weather) can make!

We arrived to see huge 5m waves smashing into the rocks filling the air with salt spray, and a wind that almost blew one over. What more could a 'Shorebird Pelagicer' want? And no rain – just perfect!!

Immediately, we saw pelagic birds in every direction – mostly large groups of White-chinned Petrels gliding and lifting high into the wind and Sooty Shearwaters whipping past in front of the huge swells. It wasn't long before the first Shy Albatrosses put in an appearance and over the next few hours kept popping up relatively close in to shore.

Cheryl spotted a Brown Skua, which has been pretty scarce around our area this year so far, followed by a lone Parasitic Jaeger. Then came the news in from the Hermanus New Harbour – the Verster's have spotted a number of Cory's Shearwaters close in off the Harbour, along with big numbers of Sooty Shearwaters.

Fortunately, we decided to stay on at Pringle Bay as the bird of the day showed up – a Great Shearwater! Frustratingly due to time constraints, Cory's had to wait until the next day.

And the next morning, happily, the Cory's showed up again at the New Harbour. We had about 20 minutes of a number of Cory's flying past and they remained visible for the next hour or so, but a bit further out.

Surprisingly, we did not see even one Giant Petrel, which is normally an expected tick. So roll on winter, and some more 'bad' weather to bring in the Pelagics for us to enjoy!

- Text and images by Lester van Groeningen






























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