Marine – St Francis Bay pelagics
About the Birding
As one departs from the St Francis Bay harbour, look for predominantly coastal species. This could include Hartlaub’s, Kelp, and Grey-headed Gulls, the White-breasted and Reed Cormorants, and Common (summer), Swift (Greater Crested) and Sandwich Terns. A resident family of Cape Clawless Otters may also put in an appearance, together with the hulking South African Fur Seal. The bay itself is fantastic for both African Penguin and Cape Gannet, both of which visit these waters from the nearby St Croix and Bird Island colonies.
About the Birding Site
Marine habitats are perhaps the least explored areas of the Eastern Cape and pelagic trips offer the thrilling opportunity to access species that are typically not easily seen from shore. The open seas are an extremely challenging habitat in with to look for and identify birds and one is usually required to travel 10-20km offshore to find a high diversity of offshore seabird species. The weather plays an important role in the lives of pelagic species and, generally, the rougher the conditions the better!
Other Related Information
Pelagic trips from St Francis Bay usually depart from Port St Francis at roughly -34.1829, 24.8505 though specific details are usually communicated to you by the skipper several days before the scheduled departure. Note that pelagic trips usually demand that several days are kept open, to ensure suitable weather conditions.
Recommended accommodation nearby:
No Birder Friendly Establishments are currently available in St Francis, although a variety of accommodation options are available to suit all budgets and requirements.