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Monday, 21 September 2009

Once In A Lifetime Treat - BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS reappears after two months in the English Channel

Fisherman out today off of the ISLES OF SCILLY relocated the sub-adult (probably second or third-winter) BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS first seen in the English Channel 11.5 miles SW of Salcombe (South Devon) on 23 July and later seen flying slowly west past Gwennap Head, Porthgwarra (Cornwall) on 26 July.

The bird was sitting on the sea and flying short distances about two miles WSW of Penninis Head, St Mary's. Fortuitously, a pelagic trip was already scheduled for today, and at 1800 hours, following a tip-off, several local birders and a few visiting birders were able to get to within 100 yards of the bird as it remained in the same area of water. Although very distant, Tom Lowe and others were able to 'scope the bird from both the Garrison and Penninis Head this evening and the bird remained on view until dusk, still sat on the sea. There is every possibility it will be 'twitchable' tomorrow, particularly as it has been lingering in the area for almost two months.

In the interim period, there has been reports of it being seen off St Martin's (Scilly) on 27 July and off Porthgwarra on 2 August.

Since the departure of the long-staying Hermaness (Shetland) adult and its subsequent relocation to the remote and largely inaccessible Sula Sgeir (Outer Hebrides), this highly pelagic species has become extremely difficult and extremely expensive to see and today's relocation represents perhaps the best prospect yet of seeing this incredibly rare and difficult-to-connect-with vagrant