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Seabird of the Indian Ocean

In December 2023 and in January 2024, I was one of the Ocean Wildlife Encounters Team onboard Fred Olsen's MV Bolette as it sailed from Egypt, down the Red Sea and then over to India and followed the India Coast southwards to Kerala. I left the ship for a few weeks returning home for Christmas and New Year before flying out to rejoin the MV Bolette in Mauritius. From there we sailed to Madagascar, then Mozambique and around South Africa to Cape Town.


Our days at sea where spent looking for seabirds and cetaceans. Whilst some of the seabirds (Cory's Shearwater, Manx Shearwater and Sooty Shearwater) were familiar to me, many I hadn't seen before.


As we left the Red Sea and entered the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. Here we saw our first shearwaters - Persian Shearwater and Flesh-footed Shearwater along with our first views of Red-billed Tropicbird. Vast numbers of Red-necked Phalaropes were seen on the sea and also when we were in port. We also saw our first Masked Boobies of the trip.


Adult Masked Booby with beak entangled in nylon


Immature Masked Booby


As we left the Arabian Gulf and headed for Mombai were can across several Jouanin’s Petrel.


Jouanin’s Petrel


Unfortunately I failed to get images of some of the seabirds, but friends Jeff Clarke and Martin Kitching (who were on the trip with me) faired better. See https://www.oceanwildlifeencounters.co.uk/post/the-intrepid-beauty-of-africa-and-the-indian-ocean-part-one-safaga-to-kochi for a fuller account of the first leg of my adventure.


The second trip, from Mauritius to Cape Town, was also very productive for seabirds; Bulwer's, Great-winged, White-chinned and Barau's Petrels, Cory's, Manx, Baillon's and Sooty Shearwaters; Masked and Red-footed Booby; White-tailed Tropicbird; Cape Gannet and finally White-capped and Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross.


Baillon's Shearwater


Baillon's Shearwater


Barau's Shearwater


Barau's Shearwater


Great-winged Petrel


Great-winged Petrel


Wedge-tailed Shearwater


Wedge-tailed Shearwater



Cory's Shearwater


Cory's Shearwater


Cory's Shearwater


Sooty Shearwater


White-chinned Petrel


White-chinned Petrel


White-chinned Petrel


Red-footed Booby


Red-footed Booby, with nylon tangled around the legs.


"Time to Roost" Red-footed Boobies coming into roost on the forecastle of MV Bolette


Cape Gannet


Cape Gannet


White-capped Albatross


White-capped Albatross


Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross

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