Unique fact, an albatross observed in Quiberon [Vidéo] – Auray

You come to La pointe du Vivier very regularly, is this the first time you have met someone like this?

Pointe du Vivier is one of my favorite “local spots”, the places where I come as often as possible to observe the birds, five minutes from my home and ten from the office. The show is always different and captivating. The weather conditions for this Wednesday, December 28, were very favorable for the sea watch (guet-à-la-mer in French: observing the migration of seabirds from a fixed point), with a persistent south-westerly wind, gusting between 70 and 90 km/h, and a very rough sea with holes of four to five meters. But I would never have imagined having such an encounter… Imagine an albatross! It’s a childhood dream that I just realized.

“I had a huge adrenaline rush. Shaking, I managed to film this huge bird coming towards me.

Tell us how it happened?

I had to wait for the rain to stop completely. A quick trip to Port Maria allowed me to observe seven kittiwakes sheltered from the wind, suggesting to me a good passage of seabirds.

After enjoying a ballet of gannets, Leach’s terns, penguins, puffins and others, I was soaked and about to pack up. But a little inner voice told me, “Look again, the birds keep passing…”. And there, with the binoculars, very far in the direction of the island of Groix, between two huge waves, a huge black and white bird makes a ball and disappears.

Did you understand immediately?

Yes, I knew very well what I had just seen. I know boobies and black luggage by heart and it was neither. I poked my eye into my binoculars. Above: long wings and a black tail, and below it was black and white, it was indeed an albatross.

I had a huge adrenaline rush. Shaking, I managed to film this huge bird coming towards me before it passed behind the wall of the building that protected me from the wind. Then I saw him for a few more minutes before I lost him in front of Beger Vil. I followed him for almost 4 km, in 90 km/h winds, losing sight of him for long moments behind the waves, and not once did he flap his wings. It was quite peaceful, 500m in front of me. It was magical.

Why is it so unusual to see an albatross in Quiberon?

The albatross is a bird of the southern hemisphere. It lives in the southern seas. We hardly ever see them here. In 2016, a specimen was observed in Quiberon. The one I saw must have been carried across the trade winds by stormy winds, crossed the equator and ended up in the northern hemisphere.

He will certainly not be able to leave again because he will have to find the same extraordinary conditions to cross the trade winds again, which will not happen. For several years now, an albatross has lived near Great Britain and Denmark. The one I saw was an immature, about three years old, then a newcomer.

Do we have a chance to see him at home?

Yes. It was apparently observed in Cornouaille, Thursday, January 5th. He could come back. He will have to get used to living in this new universe. It could make do with gannets, which have a rhythm of life similar to albatrosses. I hope to see him again in Quiberon.

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