Pelagic Birding Trip

In Namibia a pelagic birding tour is a rarity.  I have been trying to get on one for years.  Last weekend I finally got the chance.

I recently joined the Namibian Bird club again, and did a short little walk with them one weekend.  The next thing was a pelagic boat trip.  It was the first that they offered.  Of course, I jumped at the chance.

We decided to make a weekend trip out of it and so we all went down to the coast and stayed in Swakopmund.  On Saturday I went through to Walvis Bay to do the trip.  The weather was fantastic.  That is rather rare at the coast.  It was also not what we wanted.  With almost no wind none of the larger pelagic birds would be out and about. 

That was exactly how the whole trip turned out.  We had great weather as we headed out to sea.  We went about 45 kilometers from Walvis Bay and saw a few White-chinned Petrels, Sooty Shearwaters and some Skuas, but nothing I had not seen.  We were lucky to see a Penguin, about as far north as they come.

One the trip we had a couple 'experts' who were not to worried about what we did or didn't see and most of the others were happy with the couple birds we did see and spent a long time getting the hang of the id of the three or four new birds they saw.  I never mean to be the 'twitcher' but on this occasion the whole point of doing a trip out to sea was to see stuff that we didn't normally see.  I was disappointed.  I thought perhaps the 45 kilometers was way to short.  The boat skippers always use the short trips as case and point about why not to do pelagic trips off Namibia's coast.  I think that they are wrong.  People have been seeing amazing stuff just a little further out.  Where we turned is still short of where the hake boats start fishing.  I can't help but think that the area around the active fishing boats is where I would like to go.  So, I will have to leave that to another day.

Of course, all was not lost.  I saw the largest group of dolphins that I have ever seen in my life.  Perhaps around 50 or more Haviside's Dolphin swam near the boat.  It could have been 100.  It is really hard to tell.  It is hard enough to judge 100 springbok when you can see all of try to judge the numbers of animals that are all ducking under the water is a different matter all together.  Plus I have no real experience with Dolphins at all.

Well, no new birds but a good trip anyway.  I will be heading out to Sossusvlei Desert Lodge of the 15th and will certainly have a few things to write about then.
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Meiring Borcherds said...

hmmm this sounded like loads of fun mate... take care