Rarity finders Black-browed Albatross at Bempton Cliffs


This page contains 9 reader comments. Click here to view (latest Mon 22/05/17 19:59).

Most Saturdays I go out birding with my grandad and this Saturday was no different. At 9.30 am my grandad and grandma, Robert and Val, came to pick me up and said that we were off to Sutton Bank and maybe also a bit further to Bempton Cliffs, to which I replied "YES!". On the way over we decided not to stop at Sutton Bank and just go straight to Bempton, discussing what we might see.

We arrived at Bempton at about 11.30 am, checked the recent sightings board in the visitor centre and saw that a Corn Bunting had been reported, so the plan was to try and find that.

We didn't have success with the bunting so on the way back, at about 1.30 pm, we stopped for a rest and a packet of crisps, not expecting what was coming. My grandad said: "What's this coming towards the cliffs? It has black wings."

I picked my binoculars up and rushed to the fence. As it drifted past in my field of view I immediately knew it wasn't anything I had seen before, so quickly swapped my binoculars for my camera to take a picture. As I looked at the picture I said "That's an albatross!" and showed my grandparents. "We need to get this confirmed. I need to go and report it!"

An uncropped version of Joe's albatross image (Photo: Joe Fryer)

After watching it for a couple of minutes I speed-walked to the visitor centre, where I found a member of staff and said: "Excuse me, I think I've seen an albatross." At that moment he looked at me, a 12-year-old, in disbelief and I showed him the picture. He looked at the picture and saw the wings and thought it was a Lesser Black-backed Gull at first until he saw the eyestripe and bill. He asked a colleague to come and look, too, and it was then confirmed as a Black-browed Albatross. Then the people behind the counter said "What a find!" and it went crazy. The atmosphere changed from calm to electric, someone went to look for it and the radios went mad. I was taken to the office to put my picture on social media and the Bempton Cliffs Twitter page.

Black-browed Albatross

Black-browed Albatross
Adult Black-browed Albatross, Bempton Cliffs RSPB, East Yorkshire, 13 May 2017 (Photos: Joe Fryer)

After all the joy and excitement it was back to birding. I went back to my grandparents and looked to see if the albatross was still about but it had moved on southwards. Instead we took a few pictures of Gannets, Guillemots, Razorbills and Kittiwakes before checking in at Filey Brigg, where we saw a Whimbrel. Coming home we had a quick stop at Sutton Bank, where we saw two Turtle Doves and a Jay.

Some said to us "That'll be a hard day to beat!", to which grandad replied "We'll see!"

I would like to say a big thank you to my grandparents for taking me out birding most weekends.

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Black-browed Albatross Black-browed Albatross
East Yorkshire East Yorkshire

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The information in this article was believed correct at the time of writing. BirdGuides accepts no responsibility for errors, or for any consequences of acting on information in the article. The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily shared by BirdGuides Ltd.

hide section Reader comments (9)

Fantastic. Thanks for sharing great story.
   Anthony, 16/05/17 15:50Report inappropriate post Report 
Well done on a great find and well done on remembering to thank your grandparents. A nice end to a nice story.
   John Foster, 16/05/17 16:48Report inappropriate post Report 
Brilliant, well done! Enjoy your birding :-)
   Dawn Balmer, 16/05/17 17:15Report inappropriate post Report 
Well done Joe. I've been hoping to see this bird as it heads through the English Channel each spring and autumn.
   Jamie Hooper, 16/05/17 19:38Report inappropriate post Report 
Well done Joe and your grandparents! Enjoy all your birding because it might be hard to top a day like that one..... and yet I think you may have a great future ahead of you.
   Paul Cracknell, 17/05/17 06:55Report inappropriate post Report 
Great work Joe, hope to see you back at Bempton again soon!
   Nick Carter, 17/05/17 08:25Report inappropriate post Report 
Hi Joe, many congratulations . Great find and pics. I saw a BB Albatross at Prawle Point ,Devon , last August. I'm 64 and been birding 32 years.But I fluffed my attempt to photograph it so really pleased for you that you didn't .Well done.
   Tony Marchese, 17/05/17 11:51Report inappropriate post Report 
Well done Joe, wonderful story and an unforgettable day for you and your grandparents. Keep on birding!
   Pauline Chilton, 18/05/17 07:29Report inappropriate post Report 
Hi Joe, absolutely cracking photos, very exiting for you. I would have loved to see an Albatross when I was 12. I had to wait til I was 40 in 2007 when I saw the Somerset Yellow Nosed Albatross passing Morte Point. I was lucky last October as well, while on my own I saw the Juv BBA from Lundy Island but was too slow with my camera. Keep looking out because its just a matter of time before someone gets a Photo of 2 together.
   Martin Thorne, 22/05/17 19:59Report inappropriate post Report 

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