Pelagic Birding, East London

Pelagic trips out of East London are usually undertaken during the winter months of June to September. The pelagic birding improves over this period with the arrival of the sardine shoals off the coast and with them, an abundance of pelagic birds. The birds move north from their breeding grounds on islands well south of our coast to escape the severe Antarctic winters.

Typical species seen at this time of the year include Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross, Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross, Black-browed Albatross and Shy Albatross and no more than a few metres from the boat. In fact, most of the time the birds are so close that binoculars become redundant. White-chinned Petrel and Sooty Shearwater are seen in good numbers, as are Cape Gannet and Wilson's Storm-Petrel. The ever-present Subantarctic Skua will even take fish from your hand. Other birds to watch for include Southern Giant-Petrel, Pintado Petrel, Antarctic Prion, Soft-plumaged Petrel and European Storm-Petrel. Pelagic trips always seem to provide the unexpected, so anything is possible.

If you are interested in participating in a trip you can contact Shaun Peard on tel. 043 748 4629 a/h or e-mail Trips will be either on a Saturday or Sunday, depending upon weather conditions. Trips typically leave the harbour at 07h30 and return by 12h30.

Shaun Peard 2002