Saturday, 20 September 2008

A Spot of Sea Watching

With a good north-westerly blowing you can always be sure of a few Albatrosses coming in close to shore. As I've mentioned previously I've even spotted a few from my backyard when looking out to sea with the binoculars. Today was such a day with north-westerly and westerly winds gusting up to 80 kmph. I drove down the road to a little promontory where I could get a better view. There were lots of very heavy downpours with lashing wind and hail but nestled between a large rock and an old Hawthorn I was totally sheltered with an open view across a stormy sea. There were a few breaks in the rain too and even a few moments of sunshine allowing for some quick snaps.

At times there were up to 6 Albatrosses flying low among the waves. I found that it's easier to focus on them when then rise up higher so that they stand out against the sky.

Maybe someone can offer help with the identification. I have an opinion but cannot be sure. I would suggest the first one is a Shy Albatross and at the moment I'm leaning toward Black-browed Albatross for the second shot. Feel free to correct me.

Update: Four people have replied to my post on Birding-Aus and so far all agree with my ID.

(Click Photos to Enlarge)

Shy Albatross - Thalassarche cauta

Black-browed Albatross - Thalassarche melanophrys


  1. Now you're the lucky one!

  2. You saw albatrosses! Lucky duck!

    Clearly, I can't offer any help.

  3. Hi Alan,
    I don't know Albatrosses too well, but I think your ID is right. We were also out this afternoon, checking Albatrosses at Three Sisters Lookout, between Ulverstone and Penguin - only definitely ID'd Shy. But then there were more in close to shore all the way to Wynyard, where we drove to and then back to Ulverstone. Pretty wild weather, but then, that's what they like!

  4. Nice shots. What lens do you use?

    Can't help with ID. But pelagic fans abound on birding-aus google group.

  5. Thanks Duncan - I'd still swap for that Eagle Owl :-

    Thanks Snail - Certainly good weather for ducks.

    Thanks John - Hey I was just up the road between Penguin and Sulphur Creek. We may have seen some of the same albatrosses.

    Thanks Tony - Yes I've asked on Birding Aus. I use a Canon 400mm f5.6 L

  6. Albatrosses! Wow! These birds have such mythic status. Very cool...

  7. Great photos again Alan. There's something so elemental and exciting about sea birds. Albatrosses and Shearwaters are just fabulous. Wish I'd been there!

  8. Hi Mosura

    Can't help much with the ID but happy to praise some lovely sharp shooting! Great shots.

    Best wishes, Adrian

  9. I'll say the same: Wow! Wish I'd been there!

  10. Thanks Dave - Yes they're the kind of birds you can't see too much of.

    Thanks Jenny - I used to enjoy a bit of sea watching in Scotland. I should do it more often.

    Thanks Adrian - Thanks for the compliment. Having an 8 foot wingspand makes it a little easier to get a reasonable sized shot :-)

    Thanks Mick - You should take your kayak out to sea and maybe spot a few :-)

  11. Hi, I found your link through a friends blog. I'm blown away by these photo's. I can't imagin the joy you must have felt at seeing an albatrose, let alone 6 of them at a time!

  12. Thanks Blackcrow - for popping in. Glad you enjoyed the photos and yes they are always awesome birds to see.