After the excitement of the Albatross, it’s back to migration on the Downs, which seems to be a bit slower than last year, although we’ve had Redstart, Whinchat and Spotted Flycatchers at home so far. It’s also a good time for insects, with a few late butterflies, and an excellent variety of dragonflies and damselflies in the wetland behind us.
A deeply unsatisfactory glimpse of the Black-browed Albatross back in early July had healed the desperation, but we still wanted a proper view of the bird; we just weren’t prepared to dash around the country for it. Predictably enough, it left just before we headed to Yorkshire for a few days, and its last trip was long enough for us to completely miss it if stayed away as long this time. Leaving Worthing at 0445, we headed north with a simple decision to make: if it is reported before the M18 turn off, we go to Bempton, if not, we carry on to Harrogate. To our delight it was reported about half an hour before the M18, so off we went, still nervous, as we had been so close last time and all we had was a rubbish view.
When we got there the bird was about half a mile offshore, just about identifiable through a fully zoomed telescope. An improvement on last time, but still not quite the thing. After a long wait, it took to the air and meandered its way towards us. It then gave us a fantastic display circling off the cliff. After a while it landed on the cliff, out of sight of course. After a while it left and went back on to the sea for a wash and a rest. Another lengthy wait ended with it coming back to us and performing superbly, giving us close range views at eye level. Many pictures were taken, but a bird that size is difficult to photograph that close.
Best bird ever!