2 June 2013

The F Word

2 Black Footed Albatross off Tomakomai yesterday morning...............

F as in FOG.

It has been bright and sumnny the last few days but during the 4 hours or so we were on the boat it was foggy..................making it difficult to a) spot birds and b) photograph them.

Luckily the albatross were up close so the poor visibility didn't matter so much.

Some people on the boat were hoping for more albatross species but for me one is enough..............

Despite the foggy weather it was a good trip. There were lots and lots of birds on the sea................shame about the visibility. Lots of Ancient Murrelet and Rhinoceros Auklet but the commonest auk was Brunnichs Guillemot................

There were also Short Tailed and Sooty Shearwater (not sure if I can distinguish these by myself). Lots of Pacific Diver too but they were very skittish.

Both species of pharalope were around but in small numbers..............some heavy cropping going on here.

I see other peoples blogs/galleries and I can't believe how good some of their pelagic shots are. OK we had fog yesterday and good light may have helped some of thse shots but I find focusing very hard on a moving boat and missed numerous BIF chances and even birds just bobbing around on the water presented a great challenge that I didn't really rise to.

Another challenge that I failed to rise to was putting on the lifejacket by myself. I know it should be easy and a 5 year old could do it but for some reason (and this was my 5th boat trip) whenever I pick it up I look at it blankly and just cannot work out how it goes on. Someone always patiently helps me but my god they must think I'm retarded or something....................

Other birds on the trip included my first Grays Grasshopper Warbler, Sand Martin, Pacific Swift and Black Browed Reed Warbler of the year as well as Japanese Green Pigeon, Osprey, Eastern Marsh Harrier, Siberian Blue Robin and lots and lots of Lathams Snipe................
Thanks for clicking this link.......


  1. Wow! That looks like an excellent mini-pelagic to me. Love the last Albatross shot.

    1. Thanks Stuart, yes it was a good one. Shame about the fog.......

  2. Some great shots despite the fog. So excited by the birds you saw. I'm yet to see an albatross. I saw two very large seabirds during a winter storm in Niigata about five years ago but had no idea what they were. I wonder if they could have been these guys? I think Niigata is the wrong side to see any albatross though...hmmn, also jealous of those auklets.

    1. Hi Russell, yes you have to go to the Pacific side of Japan to see them......

  3. Wow stunning photos of the albatrosses once again! Those breeding Red Phalaropes also make me feel really jealous.

    1. Hi Ayuwat, actually pharalopes were my main target on this trip but there were only a few and photographing small birds in fog doesn't work so well........

  4. Brill shots of the Alberts Stu. I have the same problem with life jackets on a plane- just as well I've never had to use one in earnest.

  5. The B-word; - brilliant Black-footed Albatrosses and all the rest. I think almost everyone has to discard 99 % of pelagic shots.

    I struggle with lifejackets on boats, AND I can't tie other people's shoelaces, either !

  6. Phil and John-I'm reassured..........


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