22.08.21 Black-browed Albatross at Bempton.

As a kid, seeing grainy photo’s of the returning Shetland bird in copies of BB during the 80’s left an indelible impression on my young birder brain. Seemingly too far and too remote an occurrence for me ever to witness myself. Since then I’ve been fortunate to see many 100’s in the South Atlantic but the thought of seeing one in the Northern Hemisphere let alone British waters remained an exciting prospect.

Then came this Bempton individual which tested my natural inclination to shy away from “twitching” to breaking point. It’s prolonged but erratic stay has haunted me! So, as it appeared to be putting in one of its longer stays and almost two months after it first settled amongst the Gannetry, Jamie Partridge and I set off towards Yorkshire. Although optimistic we hadn’t factored in the headland being shrouded in thick, zero visibility fog from dawn. Optimism drained away, we could smell the guano and hear the cackling Gannets in the perpetual gloom but were we going to be beaten by this malevolent meteorological event!? Fortunately the gods smiled upon us and after 2 hours the fog cleared and the Albatross dully appeared putting in a wonderful aerial display. We smiled, we whooped, it was simply marvellous. A childhood dream fulfilled just a few days away from my 48th birthday.


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