Wing the bells for arrival of albatross
There has been much excitement in the UK birding world in the last couple of weeks after an adult black browed albatross appeared among the gannet colony at Bempton Cliffs RSPB reserve in Yorkshire. This fantastic bird has been touring the North Sea for the last few summers, spending most of the time on a German island in the North Sea off Denmark. It turned up on the Minsmere RSPB reserve in Suffolk in the summer on a small lake during a thunderstorm a few years ago, then flew back to sea shortly afterwards. Albatross species breed in the South Atlantic and the black browed variety is an occasional UK visitor. It has a black brow, pale orange bill, black wings and white body and underwing. The wingspan is around 2.5 m. This Yorkshire visit was shortlived and it flew up the East coast of England to south of Scotland the next day. The only albatross I have seen in the UK was in Dungeness in 2001. It was there for just enough time for me to jump out of bed and drive down from Littlestone in my slippers and run to the seawatching hide.
For more information contact Owen Leyshon, Romney Marsh Countryside Partnership, telephone 01797 367934 or visit www.rmcp.co.uk