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Saturday, 3 July 2010

YELLOW-NOSED ALBATROSS: new to Britain (Implications of wrecked mega-rare seabird vagrants being bought in to Seabird Rescue Centres)

I have just had a chance to read the July 2010 issue of British Birds, especially its article - ''Yellow-nosed Albatroos: new to Britain (103: 376-384). Within its pages, it has an account written by Pauline Kidner, which is full of contradiction.

The bird had been taken to the Secret World Wildlife Rescue (www.secretworld.org), which rescues over 4,000 animal casualties every year and survives PURELY ON DONATIONS. On 30 June 2007, a local resident Hugh Harris contacted them to say that a Fulmar was blocking his driveway and appeared to be in ill-health. Hugh took the Fulmar to the centre and left it there and when Pauline and two members of staff eventually got to deal with it next morning, they quickly realised that it was an Albatross, most likely a Black-browed Albatross. On realising this, they informed many of the locals, and later in the day a crowd of at least 50 excited people witnessed the release at Brean Down.

In the account, Pauline states that many people were upset when they finally got to hear about the bird and she replies by saying that they did not appreciate the significance of the record at the time. But they did in reality, because they believed it to be the Black-browed Albatross from Scotland and invited everyone in the Brean area to come down. Whether it was a Black-browed or an Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross, it would have attracted HUGE crowds. The sad part of all of this was the failure to utilise the bird to raise what would have been an exceptional amount of money for the Rescue Centre as well as perhaps raising a large amount of money for the worldwide Albatross protection campaign. From reading Pauline's comments, I cannot say that I have confidence in hearing of another mega rare seabird bought in to the site (Lee G R Evans)