Black-footed albatross, laysan albatross and a following northern fulmar

Off California in the North Pacific, we encountered thick fog with the occasional break into blue sky.  It was hardly worth standing on deck with so limited visibility but since I had once spotted close-up humpbacks in similar conditions, I thought I’d give it a whirl.  We sailed into a clear patch and I was watching a big bird approach the ship.  First thoughts were masked booby but then I realised it was most definitely an albatross.  I managed to get a couple of photos off before the fog returned and one of my birdwatching colleagues soon had it identified as a laysan albatross with a 2 metre wingspan.  The layman is listed as vulnerable and is not often seen in this area.  The emerging ‘Aqualegacy” shows the fog bank returning.

Our guide spotted the dark coloured black-footed albatross from our whale-watching boat out of Moss Landing, California.  Also listed as vulnerable, these birds are susceptible to long-line fishing.

The smaller and much more common northern fulmar followed the boat for some time.

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