Over the past 16 months, there have been three separate sightings of the Shy Albatross(Thalassarche cauta) off the coast of northern California. These very large (nine-foot wingspan), powerful seagoing birds breed on rocky islands off the coasts of Tasmania and New Zealand. While they are known to fly enormous distances, there have been only five recorded sightings outside the southern hemisphere. The first recorded California sighting occurred in August 1999 off Point Arena (Mendocino). The next two—which may or may not have been the same individual—occurred in July and September 2000, in an area about 22 miles off the coast of Marin, on the Cordell Banks. Why this sudden appearance? No one knows, according to local pelagic bird expert Luke Cole, who leads excursions for Shearwater Journeys and the California Academy of Sciences. Changes in ocean temperature and weather patterns over the past two years don’t explain it, says Cole, so we can only speculate. Perhaps they aren’t as “shy” as they used to be? If you’d like to see albatrosses and other pelagic birds, sign up for a day-long boat trip with Shearwater Journeys at (831) 637-8527. Trips run from April through December.
Like this article?
There’s lots more where this came from…
Subscribe to Bay Nature magazine
Most recent in Archive
Sean FitzHoward, winner of our 2012 Local Environmental Hero Award for Youth Engagement, recently wrote us about her experience aboard an oceanic research vessel over the summer. It was time well-spent! Dear David and Bay Nature Staff, I just wanted to share some pictures of my summer with you. For five weeks this summer, I […]
Archive | Bay Nature Local Heroes