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A small selection of links especially appropriate to observing pelagic species. They are ones we have some experience of, as seabirds are visible in many situations, pelagic trips, ferries, tourist trips, expedition and luxury cruises.


HERITAGE EXPEDITIONS.    A travel company based in New Zealand, whose small ship is responsible for most of our seaborne travel. Now expanding into other areas, but in our opinion still the best (and only in some cases) way to access the oceans and Antarctica. Unfortunately this type of travel isn't cheap, but if you want to visit really remote islands Heritage or Wildwings are the best ways, unless you win the lottery.

WILDWINGS,    Agents for Heritage expeditions, but much more also. Much of our travelling is arranged by Wildwings who act as a travel agent as well as organising their own specialist tours, and several of their seabird voyages, such as the Atlantic Odyssey, have taken most well-known birders to sea at one time or another.
Sadly, John Brodie-Goode, their founder, passed away last year, but I'm sure Sarah and the rest of the team will carry on as before.


SCILLY PELAGICS.    The best pelagic trips running in the UK currently, giving a very good chance of Wilson's Storm-petrel, Great and Cory's Shearwater among others. A number of rarities have been found over the years, but as with all pelagics you either have to do lots or be very lucky, or more often both. The founder, Bob Flood, is well known in seabirding circles and has written several books, available through the site.

HATTERAS PELAGICS.    Well known in the states, but doesn't often figure in British itineraries. A must for seabirders, since it is the only trip (virtually) guaranteed to see Black-capped Petrel, plus many other species including Audubon's Shearwater and several Storm-petrels. Bermuda Petrel has been seen and Tropicbirds, South Polar Skua and Trindade Petrel are fairly regular but only a few each year. Run by Brian Patteson and Kate Sutherland, usually a number of "guest" guides, often well known US birders.


MADEIRA WINDBIRDS.    A pelagic company running whale watching and seabird trips. A set of three on consecutive days will get Bulwers, Fea's, probably Zino's Petrel, several species of Storm-petrel and Cory's Shearwater, plus potential rarities and Bryde's Whale. They also run land based tours including an evening trip to see and hear (silhouetted) Zino's returning to their colonies in the mountains.

KAIKOURA PELAGICS.    Well known to New Zealand travellers for their whale-watching trips, which to be frank don't always see whales, they have diversified into birding pelagics and these are much more succesful, seeing several species of albatross among others. The original WHALEWATCHING tours still run, are more popular and have more passengers, but seabirds are limited.


PTERODROMA PELAGICS.    Rather unfortunately named since most birders go on their trips to see New Zealand Storm-petrel, but many other species are possible in the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand, including Cook's and Pycroft's Petrels. To be fair, when they chose the name, the stormie hadn't been re-discovered! The trips are now organised by The Seabird Trust, and are excellent, but the name has been retained at present.

WEST COAST USA PELAGICS.    A must for any enthusiastic seabirder is a journey off the west coast of the USA. However, since Shearwater Journeys ceased trading the obvious choice is no more, try a few of these if you're interested, I have no experience of any, and some others may no longer be running. Several Auks and Storm-petrels can be seen off this littoral, and sightings of the mega-rare Short-tailed Albatross are slowly on the increase, particularly in the north.

MONTEREY PELAGICS.    Since Debbie Shearwater gave up the slot, far fewer pelagics go from Monterey, although this will probably increase in the future. This one seems very knowledgeable, although their main purpose is whale-watching trips. They run pelagics in autumn, but whale-watching trips most of the year. Some of these are all day or even longer, as the owner is a marine biologist and research is involved. Of course, seabirds will be seen as well, and who wouldn't want to see a few cetaceans?

ISLAND PACKERS.    A ferry company running various trips to the islands off California. The only way to see the endemic Santa Cruz Scrub-jay, but also a potential storm-petrel trip, as Ashy and Black breed in the area. We were going to give them a try when covid intervened, potentially worthwhile. Three or four times annually specific pelagic trips are run, see THE SALTY BIRD, these are a good bet for several species dependent on season.


CAPE TOWN PELAGICS.    One of the best pelagics in the world in terms of birds, unfortunately in some of the roughest waters in the world. Rough is good in terms of pelagic species, but not when you can't stand up or hold your bins in place! I have to say it's not always that bad, and more modern boats are used now, the potential is fantastic, up to seven Albatrosses, Spectacled & Pintado Petrel among others. Profits go to the Save the Albatross fund, an added bonus.

FERRY TO STEWART ISLAND, NZ.    A trip to Stewart Island if visiting New Zealand is well worth it bird-wise, especially if crossing the Fouveaux Strait on the catamaran. It's usually rough, but this ensures albatrosses, petrels etc. aren't sitting on the surface out of site. One of the best chances for Mottled and White-headed Petrels without a specialised boat trip. The link takes you to the island website but the ferry site is accessible from there. A trip is available to almost guarantee BROWN KIWI.

THE CRUISE PEOPLE.    A website giving information on all types of cruises, small ships, expeditions, freighter passenger cruises and more. If you're really in to seabirds or remote destinations this is a good starting point. Haven't used them personally but the information is well worth a look, especially the small-ship cruises.

ALEUTIAN FERRY & DUTCH HARBOUR.    Again, a ferry serving the chain of islands that make up the Aleutians. Several itineraries are on offer, the best would be all the way and back, which is virtually the only way of getting Whiskered Auklet on your US list. Unfortunately, being Alaska, it's relatively expensive, but cheaper than organised tours to that part of the world, although the website itself is somewhat confusing.


FERRY TO TASMANIA.    Not a ferry to be taken specifically to see seabirds, but if you are travelling to Tasmania it is worth using it rather than flying, plus it enables you to take a car or campervan. Birds seen vary, and as expected, are more numerous in winter and bad weather. An albatross or two would be expected, with the possibility of everything from prions to shearwaters.

RNBWS.    The Royal Navy Birdwatching society. A large amount of knowledge regarding seabird distribution comes from the RNBWS, for fairly obvious reasons. An interesting website.