Pelagic Bird Trips with
Chris & Monique Fallows
BIRD TRIPS with CHRIS & MONIQUE FALLOWS
The offshore waters off Cape Point offer some of
pelagic birding in the world.
On the Fallows' dedicated pelagic shark trips, you will have the
opportunity to see many of pelagic bird species occurring off the South
African coast. However, this trip is structured specifically around
pelagic birds and, as such, Chris and Monique dedicate their time to looking
for the large trawlers that attract thousands of these birds and this
trip is for the serious avian enthusiast.
There are several
reasons for this abundance of pelagic bird species, the most important
being the nutrient rich waters caused by the upwelling which flows
through this area.
The current responsible for this is the cold Benguela current.
Agulhas current flows down the East coast of South Africa and it too
brings a host of sub tropical species with it, particularly during the
But it is the
cold Benguela Current which sweeps the highly nutrient-rich waters up
from the south and the strong winds, predominately from the south-east,
create an upwelling that pushes all the nutrients to the surface.
This in turn, sustains the phytoplankton that forms the basis of
the marine food chain. Pelagic fishes thrive in this area and
discards from the trawlers provide a constant food source for the
Throughout the year, one has a very good
chance of seeing pelagic species like White-chinned Petrel, Sooty
Shearwater, Cape Gannet, Sub
Antarctic Skua, the diminutive Wilson's Storm Petrel and four
species of albatross (Shy, Black-browed, Atlantic and Indian
winter, when numbers of birds are at their highest, other species that
are normally present are Southern and Northern Giant Petrel, the spectacularly
plumaged Pintado Petrel, Antarctic Prion and Antarctic
Tern. Winter trips
also provide the possibility of many sought after species including those
ocean going giants, Wandering, Souther,n and Northern Royal Albatrosses as
well as Grey-headed
Albatross and Antarctic Fulmar.
periods (April-May and September-October), other birds which visit these
waters reasonably regularly, including Great Shearwater, Soft-plumaged
Petrel and, with a little bit of luck, Black-bellied Storm
The summer species are supplemented with the likes of Cory's and
Manx Shearwater, Arctic, Pomarine and Long-tailed
Petrel, European Storm Petrel, Sabine's Gull, Arctic
Tern and Grey Phalarope.
Note on Vessels: All
of the Fallows' expeditions are run from their high powered 28-ft
catamaran, equipped with two new 140-hp, low emission, 4-stroke engines,
capable of speeds in excess of 30 knots if need be. They also
have access to a larger 36-ft catamaran for larger groups if need
be. These vessels are custom built for these activities, are safe,
fast, and reliable, offering a well designed layout suitable for
photography, filming, diving and general surface observation.
Requirements: Each year. Chris
& Monique run at least two exploratory trips, each lasting 14-21 days,
for a maximum of 6 guests, who need to apply for these limited spaces.
Candidates are required to have diving experience, be comfortable on
boats for long periods and be willing to involve themselves in the
daily workings on a yacht, as well as helping in all aspects of shark
work. Each trip is carefully planned and sites that offer the best
potential, based on all available information and past experiences
in similar areas are selected.
All images © Chris
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