Rare albatross sighting for Swedish birdwatchers

Rare albatross sighting for Swedish birdwatchers
A different yellow-nosed albatross. Photo: Steven Chown
A yellow-nosed albatross was sighted off Sweden's southwestern coast, far from its habitat south of the equator, providing a rare treat for Swedish birdwatchers, ornithologists told AFP on Monday.

“I spotted it at 12:15 on Sunday … My pulse rose a little faster,” said Bengt Andersson, member of the Kullabygden Ornithological Society (KOF), adding that he alerted other bird lovers to the unusual sight.

People from across southern Sweden rushed out to catch a glimpse of the bird, he said.

“It is the first time a yellow-nosed albatross has ever been seen around the Swedish coasts as its usual habitat is in the south Atlantic,” said Thomas Svanberg, KOF head.

The albatross was later seen further south along the coast, and slightly north of Malmö it was seen flying in over land, which is abnormal behaviour.

“It is very strange. We believe it was sick and that it stranded somewhere,” added Svanberg.

Sightings of a yellow-nosed albatross have recently been reported in England and Norway. It is believed to be the same bird, Andersson said.

Svanberg said strong westerly winds from the North Sea occasionally bring unusual sea birds close to Sweden’s west coast.

The yellow-nosed albatross has a wing span of two metres. The closely related black-browed albatross has been observed previously along Sweden’s southwestern coast in May 2001 and May 2004.