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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Point Arena's most famous visitor: Al, the Laysan Albatross

Every winter for the past 17 years a wayward Laysan Albatross has over-wintered in the waters off the Point Arena Pier. Birders from all over the world come to the tiny city in hope of adding this bird to their life list. This year Al hasn't spent much time in the cove and we're not sure why. He, or she - we don't really know, is always absent when it is stormy, and today is very stormy here on the Mendonoma Coast!

Al has an affinity for surfers, often paddling over to "talk." Ken Holmes caught a photo of Al and a surfer and he's kindly allowed me to share it with you here.

There have been reports from fishermen that Al has been seen further north and several miles out. People in the Irish Beach/Elk areas should be on the look-out for this famous bird.

We know he/she is not a breeder as winter is when these large birds give birth. Ron LeValley was on Sand Island in the Midway Atoll, Hawaii on Feb. 7th. He photographed this Laysan Albatross mother as her egg hatched and has allowed me to share it with you here. So wonderful!
To see more of Ron's nature photography, here is his web site:
Last year Al left on March 28th so we know he'll be leaving us soon, hopefully to return again in late November or early December.


Anonymous said...

Precious picture of the mom and new chick! I know I'm not really a "local" but, at this point, do "we" REALLY want to know what sex Al is?
I think that's all part of his/her mystique, I say NAY to DNA! : )

Jeanne Jackson said...

I like the mystery too, Steve. There was talk of putting a tracking device on Al to see where he goes when he leaves Point Arena. That was nixed, thank goodness!