Paying homage to a legend
It's taken me four years, but I eventually got round to twitching the famous Black-browed Albatross over the weekend. It's proved a much easier bird to catch up with so far this spring, visiting Sylt on a near-daily basis. Having booked flights on its return in early April for just £70 return (to Hamburg), I connected with the albatross instantly at its favoured haunt of Rantumbecken, a large, brackish lake on the southern side of Sylt.
While it would spend much of its time swimming around with the swans, it would sometimes have a fly around, particularly during the Saturday morning, when it cruised along the sea wall, right past me, on at least a couple of occasions. I was amazed by the bird's apparent fascination with the Mute Swans and have written a short article about it, which can be read on the BirdGuides website here.
While I was on Sylt, news broke of a male Yellow-browed Bunting at Skagen, right at the northern tip of Denmark. With nothing to lose, I decided to leave Sylt early and tackle the long drive. This passed about as quickly as was possible, with a couple of brief stops for fuel and food, and I arrived at Skagen a little before 4.30 pm. The bunting had shown just minutes before I arrived but, despite a constant vigil at its favoured garden feeders, it did not show again by dusk. Still, it was a beautiful evening and at least the lighthouse was looking good ...
Sunday morning revealed a fair few Tree Pipits going north, with a few other migrants including small numbers of Common Buzzards overhead. There was, however, no sign of the bunting which, after a clear night, was assumed to have gone. Indeed it wasn't seen all day, despite searching, although was amazingly relocated on the Monday afternoon, by which time I was already back at my desk in London. Sunday wasn't totally wasted, however, as a short diversion on the way back to Hamburg airport produced a couple of fields full of these beasts. The less said, the better!
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The musings of a wildlife enthusiast, usually armed with his camera.