The Northern Hemisphere’s Only Albatross Has Returned To The Yorkshire Coast

The Northern Hemisphere’s Only Albatross Has Returned To The Yorkshire Coast

Visitors are moved to tears when the Northern Hemisphere’s solitary albatross returns to the RSPB Bempton Cliffs in Yorkshire after being presumed dead in an eagle attack. This week, the bird, named Albie, returned to the cliffs near Bridlington.

It seems it’s not just tourists that are flocking to Yorkshire for a staycation this summer. A rare black-browed albatross has been spotted once more at Bempton Cliffs over the weekend after first being seen in Europe in 2014. 

Credit: Paul Coombes

The rare bird, which is believed flew off course and is unable to return to its natural habitat of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia in the South Atlantic, was first spotted at Bempton Cliffs in 2017 and has returned again this year.

Credit: Paul Coombes

The albatross has proved a popular little birdy, attracting huge crowds to watch it fly around on the iconic Yorkshire Coast cliffs. Bempton is found on the East Yorkshire coastline, near Bridlington and is a tourist attraction in its own right with millions of birds flocking there every year.

Posting to the Facebook group last year, Paul Coombes was amazing to spot the beautiful creature writing: “Black browed Albatross… Wow! Mostly distant from our viewpoint and difficult to ‘pick out’ against the cliffs and masses of other seabirds.”

Credit: Paul Coombes

The RSPB’s Maria Prchlik said: “It’s the same German bird that visited last year, almost at the same time. We had constant views between around 6.20-10.20am on Tuesday morning and it landed five times.

“The bird got ‘hassled’ by herring gulls which sent it further out to sea ,and the last sighting was in the distance off our Bartlett Nab viewpoint.”

According to Bridlington Free Press, Flamborough Bird Observatory chair Craig Thomas said: “It’s an adult bird and must be at least eight years old, but could be much older – they can live up to 70 years old.

Credit: Andy Hood

“There have been just over 30 records of black-browed albatross in the UK. They originate from the South Atlantic and it is very rare for individuals to travel to the northern hemisphere.

“Today’s bird is clearly looking for a place to rest on the cliffs, but the local gannets are often quite aggressive towards it, despite the albatross being a bigger bird.

“There have only been two birds recorded in the North Atlantic in the past 10 years, so it’s probably one of these. They often follow gannets and tag along with them, then sit in the colony. There are around 15,000 pairs of gannets at Bempton and I think it has followed them back to the cliffs.

“It will be exiled forever now. Albatrosses have very long wings, but they don’t flap them much and rely on updrafts. This means they can’t usually get across the equator because the air is too still, so it’s unlikely it’ll get back to the Falklands. It will live out its bachelor days with the gannets for company!”

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