Europe’s only albatross is back in Yorkshire as ‘exiled’ bird from the Atlantic seen at RSPB Bempton Cliffs

RSPB Bempton Cliffs confirmed that the bird, named Albie, had been recorded on the reserve near Bridlington this morning.

Albie spent most of last summer at the site, where his presence is enough to draw thousands of birdwatchers from all over Europe – including celebrity fans such as Bill Oddie and All Creatures Great and Small actor Samuel West.

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He is believed to have lived in Europe since 2014, when he is likely to have been blown off course and left unable to return to his breeding grounds in the South Atlantic. As a consequence, he is unlikely to ever find a mate, though he often lives with gannet colonies such as that at Bempton.

The Albatross (photo: Martin Gil Jones)

He spends the winter in areas of Germany and Scandinavia.

Albie made brief visits to the reserve in 2017 and 2020, but spent most of the summer of 2021 there after arriving in July and also wandered to Filey.

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Northern hemisphere’s only albatross heads to Filey as hundreds of birdwatchers …

The black-browed albatross is a rare sight in the northern hemisphere and most of the world’s breeding population live on the Falkland Islands and South Georgia Islands in the South Atlantic. Only two birds have been recorded over European waters in the past decade.

They breed only in the southern hemisphere but have a northernly migratory pattern, which explains the occasional sightings in the North Atlantic. These displaced birds are considered ‘vagrants’ because they have wandered far outside their normal range. They are often exiled for decades as they struggled to return to the Southern Ocean.

The albatross was seen from the Staple Newk viewpoint on Wednesday by two volunteers and a visitor managed to photograph it.

Last spring Albie survived an attack by white-tailed eagles in Denmark which many birdwatchers feared had led to his death.

The black-browed albatross was lingering in Oresund, a narrow stretch of water between Copenhagen and Malmo, in April 2021 when up to nine eagles attacked it.

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