FROM 2-14. Cape Town-Kerguelens

Neither Tryffid nor Jackal

The day of the albatross. Several Yellow Noses wheeling and soaring, often in formation and with petrels. Lots of petrels, mostly white chinned, some smaller. Occasionally a Storm Petrel.

A completely black or dark brown bird, albatross sized, massive white beak, not in the book. Possibly a giant petrel.

Another really big one, perhaps a snowy or southern royal – white underparts, dark white speckled top, white patches, flesh pink beak with orange tip, distinctive pinky orange neck band. Neck band not like anything in the book.

And what I think is one of the rarest of all – an Amsterdam – breeds only on Isle Amsterdam 1500 miles away and only 120 thought to exist according to the book. There were at least 2 of them.

Another, not immediately identifiable – dark all over except for head and neck, mottled/speckled brown with brown 'mohican' yellowish beak, darker end. Possibly a variant Amsterdam.

I have photos of all but the black one. Entirely possible they are all maturity or seasonal variants of distinct species.

I hope there's someone out there who is interested. If anyone can offer clues as to correct ID, please do!

Typical convergence zone conditions. Humid, low overcast, occasional drizzle, not much wind. Wallow and flop and roll. Poo!

Seems the Africa sailmail station server is down again. No incoming and I've tried several times to post bloggery and to retrieve gribs and no go. This via Iridium. If you get the earlier posts three times on the blog, my apologies. Perhaps the omnipotent SJ will notice and delete. If so – tks!

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