Wandering Albatross Return to Macquarie Island

by Steve Reynolds

It was recently reported that several wandering albatross nests had been discovered on sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island for the first time in years.

Pairs of the albatross were nesting in their  highest numbers in over a decade over summer. Ten nests were discovered on the remote island, including the north-west coast. That area of the island had not been used as a breeding spot by the albatross since 1967.

Completing a survey of the nests, Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service ranger Sara Larcombe found that six eggs from the nests had hatched.

As reported in The Discovery of a dead Wandering Albatross,the wandering albatross, Diomedea exulans, according to iNaturalist (Wikipedia), ”is a large seabird from the family Diomedeidae, which has a circumpolar range in the Southern Ocean. ….. and has the greatest known wingspan of any living bird, and ….. Some individual wandering albatrosses are known to circumnavigate the Southern Ocean three times, covering more than 120,000 km in one year.”

Also reported in The Discovery of a dead Wandering Albatross, was that Allan Horsfall reported the discovery of a dead carcass of a Wandering Albatross, Diomedea exulans at Port Willunga beach on 13th July 2019.

The dead bird, in good condition, had a 3.2m wingspan. The SA Museum reported it to be a young male Wandering Albatross, perhaps (judging from its plumage) 3 or so years old.

The above images of the albatross are from Peter Horsfall and his neighbour Ippei.

The following images from the SA Museum Facebook page show the work of the Museum staff on the carcass of the albatross: –


Society member Raquel Trejo took this photo of an albatross during a 2018 whale watching tour at Coffs Harbour: –

By Steve Reynolds

Steve Reynolds is the current President of MLSSA and is a long-standing member of the Society. Steve is a keen diver, underwater explorer, photographer and is chief author of the Society's extensive back catalogue of newsletters and journals.

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