Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Wandering Albatrosses, Australia 2011
Last, but hardly least, the true giants of the open oceans - majestic Wandering Albatrosses. Their sheer size (with a wingspan of up to three and a half metres, or 11.5 ft, wide) and mastery of flight (many hours can pass before they require a wing-beat) are, and were, enough to render us effectively speechless.
Classed as vulnerable and with a rapidly decreasing population, Wanderers are impacted by pollution, ingesting human trash at sea (especially plastics), but especially long-line fishing, which is the principle cause of their decline.
With a circumpolar distribution but a small and suitably remote breeding range, Wanderers are well-known for epic solo voyages across the southern oceans; hence, it was an enormous privilege to encounter at least eight on the pelagic.