Much excitement as we were leaving Cape Town Harbour on a glorious summer day to share a few days at sea with over 1000 birders and some special friends!
Birdlife South Africa put together a remarkable event, which included lectures, bird guides on deck to help with seabird identification and at the same time raised awareness for the plight of our seabirds. The event made TV, we all stood on deck as the eNCA helicopter circled around the MSC Opera and Birdlife has also submitted an application to Guinness World Records, this is the youtube link. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfWFMOLwds0)
An undoubted highlight for Fred and me was the opportunity to hear Peter Harrison talk and share his unbridled passion for seabirds. Peter is the renown author of Seabirds published 30 years ago and still the reference book. We spent many hours on deck lapping up all his insights and loving the experience of learning about these incredible birds.
|Shy Albatross with its distinctive underwing pattern and 'thumbprint'|
|American Golden Plover at Walvis Bay|
My previous pelagic day trips out to sea from Simonstown left me decimated by seasickness and not able to really take in all the details of the birds. This trip I felt great (super meds!) and loved getting to grips with the Shearwaters, the Jaegers, the Petrels and the Storm-Petrels, even adding some lifers to my list.
We disembarked (with much frustration, took over 2 hours away from our birding time) at Walvis Bay to spend some time in the desert for Dune Lark and then back to the Salt Pans. I was suffering from FOMO in the extreme and was hugely relieved to eventually get one of the rarities showing so well - the American Golden Plover!
I am still grinding my teeth when I read about all the other fabulous sightings that day....but happy with this one special sighting.