Media Release: Bird Island Trip On Offer
19 June 2008
Birders and nature lovers will jump at the opportunity to join a boat trip to Bird Island in Algoa Bay, home to the largest breeding colony of Cape gannets in the world.
This is the first time that a public group will visit the Island â which forms part of Addo Elephant National Park - for a guided tour of the bird colony.
Bird Island is also home to an established population of African penguins which now enjoy conservation after previous years of persecution through egg-collecting and guano harvesting. Gannets, dependant on built-up mounds of guano for nesting sites, declined when guano collection was practiced but numbers have steadily increased since it ceased to reach about 160 000 pairs.
The rare and endangered roseate tern is a winter breeder on the island, along with huge winter roosts of Antarctic and common terns.
The neighbouring Seal Island houses South Africaâs most easterly breeding colony of swift terns while Black Rocks is home to the most easterly Cape fur seal breeding colony, with a population of about 4 000 seals.
The boat trip to the islands will provide participants with an opportunity to view several pelagic sea bird visitors which may include various albatrosses, shearwaters, petrels, skuas and storm petrels. These birds do not roost on main land and spend most of their lives at sea. Other marine life such as whales, dolphins and sharks may also be spotted.
Near to Port Elizabeth, participants will stop to view St. Croix Island, home to a large colony of African penguins, as well as roseate terns and mixed flocks of Antarctic, common and swift terns.
Bird and St. Croix Islands were proclaimed part of Addo Elephant National Park in 2005, after the national parkâs expansion to the coast in 2002.
This once-in-a-lifetime birding opportunity is limited to 50 people and will cost R1 100 per person, including a lunch pack and an evening meal at the Deep Sea Angling Club.
For more information, please contact Judy Bouwer or Mileen De Vos of the Addo Honorary Rangers on 083 610 1090 or 041 966 1297 respectively.
South African National Parks
Megan Taplin. Regional Communications Manager: Addo Elephant, Camdeboo, Karoo and Mountain Zebra National Park. Tel: (042) 233-8609 or 083 6508649.