Albatross returns – but not for very long

Picture by Tony Dixon
Picture by Tony Dixon

The incredibly rare bird which was spotted off Bempton cliffs again in May has returned to the area – but it is not making life easy for twichers hoping to catch a glimpse.

The black-browed albatross which got enthusiasts flocking to East Yorkshire was back last Wednesday, one of the wettest and most miserable days of the year so far.

Picture by Dave Aitken

Picture by Dave Aitken

Despite the constant rain, a number of birdwatchers braved the conditions and were rewarded with a sighting of the rare visitor.

However, it only stuck around for a couple of hours.

On the Flamborough Bird Observatory website, the daily report noted: “A black-browed albatross sat on Bempton Cliffs RSPB meant those able to witness this unique occurrence hardly noticed the inclement weather.

“Initially seen flying around Staple Newk at 12.25pm, the bird drifted off to the north. However, it was eventually relocated on the sea again off Staple Newk, before flying back to the cliff top and landing amongst the gannets.

“On view for over 30 minutes, it was spooked by an aggressive gannet and looked like it was flying back out to sea. However, it then turned back towards the colony, before drifting slowly north-west near to the base of the cliffs and disappearing out of view at 3pm.”

Observatory secretary Tony Hood said earlier this week: “No more sightings here but the same bird was tracked up the coast on Thursday with sightings past Durham, Northumberland and into Lothian in Scotland. Presumably the same bird was then back in Germany the following day, just like last time.”

Before last week, the only person quick enough to grab a photo of the albatross had been 12-year-old Joe Fryer.