Monday, 28 April 2014

Walvis Bay

We began the day just after sunrise with a few Orange River White-eyes being seen near our hotel. 

Orange River White-eye

Then after breakfast we walked to the harbour and boarded a catamaran for a boat trip through the bay and out into the ocean for about 9 nautical miles – but started with a glass of Sherry to warm us up. 

An early morning toast

I wasn’t expecting much at all in the shape of pelagic seabirds but we scored with Arctic Skua, Cape Gannet and, more unbelievably, a Subantarctic Skua before we’d even left the bay! 

Arctic Skua

Subantarctic Skua

Cape Gannet

There were hundreds of Cape Fur Seals along the shoreline, but one came even closer when it jumped onto our boat and begged for fish! 

Cape Fur Seal colony

A friendly Fur Seal!

A few African Black Oystercatchers were also seen as well. Thousands of Cape Cormorants were flying around and a flock of Black Terns was nice, but everyone was really pleased with some Crowned Cormorants perched on an old ship. 

Crowned Cormorants

Heading out into the open ocean it proved to be rather quiet, but we did get White-chinned Petrel, Sooty Shearwater, and an African Penguin was a surprise, plus a few more gannets. 

White-chinned Petrel

We also had a couple sightings of Heaviside’s Dolphins which was very pleasing. We finished off with a buffet lunch on-board including some delicious oysters (according to those who tried them), some beer, soft drinks and sparkling wine! So we needed the 2 hour siesta to recover before heading out to the salt pans in the afternoon.

Heaviside's Dolphins

Our main quarry was Chestnut-banded Plover and it took some searching but we eventually found a few and took some time to enjoy them in the scope. 

Chestnut-banded Plover - just a record shot

Masses of shorebirds were present and we added Red-necked Phalarope, Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avocet, Ruff and Cape Teal to our list, as well as enjoying very close views of waders we’d seen yesterday. Some poor views of African Reed Warbler ended another productive day.

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