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Waved Albatross

Waved Albatross
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 1990-08
Categories: Birds
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-09-06 6:10
Viewed: 4494
Points: 48
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
It is another very, very wet day here in the UK. Yesterday there was bad flooding in Wales and the SW and today the NE and North Yorkshire have flood warnings - at last count there were 60 flood alerts out.

The Waved Albatross was near the top of species I wanted to see on my visit to the Galapagos. I was disappointed that we would not get close enough to them for a decent photograph, but then was pleasantly surprised to find this one sitting right by the path!

The Waved Albatross, Phoebastria irrorata - also known as Galapagos Albatross - is the only member of the Diomedeidae family located in the tropics. When they forage, the Waved Albatross follow straight paths to a single site off the coast of Peru, about 1,000 km distant to the east. During the non-breeding season, these birds reside primarily in the areas of the Ecuador and Peruvian coasts. The lifespan of this species may reach 40 to 45 years.

These are medium-sized albatrosses, measuring about 86 cm (34 in) long, weighing in at 3.4 kg (7.5 lbs) and having a wingspan 2.27 m (7.5 ft). They are distinctive for their yellowish-cream neck and head, which contrasts with their mostly brownish bodies. Even more distinctive is the very long, bright yellow bill; which looks disproportionately large in comparison to the relatively small head and long, slender neck. Chicks have brown fluffy feathers.

The primary food sources of the Waved Albatross are fish, squid, and crustaceans. But they have also been observed to scavenge for other food sources, including the regurgitated food of other birds. When foraging the Waved Albatross finds points in the ocean where prey will be more surfaced, this is the most effective way for the waved albatross to get its food. Waved Albatroses will forage 10 or even 100 kilometers away from the place where their chicks are nesting to get food for them.

The Waved Albatross breeds exclusively on Española Island in the Galápagos archipelago. The nests are built on areas of lava with boulders and sparse vegetation. The courtship of the Waved Albatross is a very elusive and spectacular site to see, it includes: rapid bill circling and bowing, beak clacking, and an upraised bill to make a whoo hoo sound. The eggs are laid between April and June and incubated for two months after that. When the eggs hatch, the chicks stay together in small nursuries while the parents go out to the sea for hunting. When the parents return, they may feed the chicks up to 2 kg of oil. The young reach adult size by December and leave the colony by January. The partners mate until one of the partners dies.

Waved Albatross are spectacular flyers perhaps even the most famous. They can fly for hours without stalling and they do this by dynamic soaring. The wind speed near the surface of the sea is much slower than about 50 feet in the air. The waved albatross uses this to its advantage by gliding at speed into the wind. As the Waved Albatross glides higher it loses most of its ground speed because it is gliding into a wind of a higher speed. However, though they lose their ground speed because they are gliding into a wind of a higher speed their air speed does not fall, enabling them to glide continuously. Waved Albatrosses do however have difficulty taking off and landing due to their huge wings and slender bodies. To make it easier they take off on cliffs that are more inland and not next to the coast. The problem is when they come into land they have a high stalling speed, when they take off its hard to beat their massive wings.

This is a scanned slide taken with a Pentax SFX, 70-210 Pentax zoom and 100asa slide film.

PaulH, ramthakur, uleko, rousettus, Argus, eqshannon, nglen, Dis. Ac., jaycee, boreocypriensis, manyee, vanderschelden, haraprasan, zulfu, Adanac, anel has marked this note useful
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To PaulH: WeatherJamesp 1 09-06 07:09
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2008-09-06 6:38]
  • [+]

Hi James,
hows the weather where you are?? Hope you're not flooded out too!
Great shot of this beautiful Albatross, i'd love to see one too. Good job on the exposure and excellent detail and framing.

What a beautiful picture of an Albatross you took 18 years ago, James!
The scan of the slide is without blemish. I still believe the slides we used to make with our film cameras were much superior to modern day digital photography.
The image is so very crisp and sharp.
Thanks and regards.

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-09-06 6:48]

Hello James,
Well, your rain has reached Sweden but down here in the south we've escaped most of ít! However, it is easy to forget about the weather when you show us such a brilliant image! How incredible to get such a close capture of this fantastic bird. I like its resting pose and details are very sharp. Well composed and lovely colours too.
TFS and kind regards, Ulla

Hello James,
a great result from scanned slide. It shows greatly Galapagos Albatross, which gave a nice pose. Your capture great with also focus and composition. good informative notes.
TFS, have a nice weekend

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-09-06 7:57]

Hello James,
Though taken long before the start of digital photography, this is an excellent scan of a Galapagos Albatross taken from a fine POV with excellent sharpness and lighting.
We are getting your rain but apparently with less intensity.
Thanks for sharing this unique capture from your archives,

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-09-06 8:07]

Hello James,
Another beauty (from 1990!). Fantastic photo for a scanned slide. In that time I also made my slides with a Pentax. This result is still very beautiful. Details and colours are excellent. Great composition.
Kind regards,

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2008-09-06 8:19]

Hi James

Sorry to hear that the weather is so bad there :(( Here (luckily enough) it's still sunny and warm.

An albatross...such a rare beauty here on TN. Thanks for sharing it with us!
This is really an amazing bird and you managed a very beautiful close-up of it. Excellent sharpness here and very beautiful colors on it plumage and, of course, that big beak.
Your exposure control was very good - careful not to overexpose those whites - and therefore this is a lovely image.

Bravo and TFS

Very nice bird...and what is that plant? It almost has an evergreen look but that would be out of place...the Oregon Grape is an evergreen that has holly like leaves which turn red green at certain times..then full on green..and the actually fruit's change as well...very nice over all..I think it is an environmental shot but perhaps to only me and my inquiring mind.

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-09-06 8:41]

Hi James. What a fantastic bird and so large. As you say in your interesting notes they can travel so faar just for food. When sat it looks to big to take off again. great detail TFS.

Hi James,

suburp shot and posefrom the bird.
Nice pov.


  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-09-06 9:48]

Hi James,

I would LOVE to see an Albatross. I've been trying for years to get someone to go with me but they all say it's too much nature. Duh! Lucky you to come across him and find him in such a pose. Your usual excellent natural colors and superb details. His wings look velvety.


  • Great 
  • mariki Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 838 W: 60 N: 2307] (9477)
  • [2008-09-06 11:01]

Hello James,

Not home, only marking.

  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2008-09-06 12:25]

Hello James! Lovely shot, a great pose from the bird, good exposure and very sharp details, well done, thanks!


Hi James:) another lovely and perfect capture from you. Great capture of a Waved Albatros in resting.
Many thanks for sharing this beauty my friend!
Have a nice Sunday!


beautiful one , TFS Ori

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2008-09-06 15:45]

Hi James,
A beautiful shot of this Waved Albatross.
My one and only experience with an albatross (a Laysan) was in Kauai.
I was up at the Kilauea Point Lighthouse when I saw this huge bird flying at me.
Though similar to seagulls in color, I knew it was not one because of its size.
By the time I realized what it was, it had flown straight at me, then past me.
A lost opportunity! (Not that I would have caught it, as fast as it was flying!)
Anyway, I really like the calm pose of your sitting albatross.
The light and colors are wonderful, with a good range of values in the black plumage. The details are very sharp, showing nicely the wavy patterns at the bottom of its neck and on its rump.
Is that where the name "waved" comes from?
I kind of wish there were a bit more space at the top, but no big deal.
TFS. : )

This one is pretty close, James.
The important thing is you captured this Waved albatross very well.
The Galapagos are a strange location to view an Albatross for a amateur birder as yours truly.
That's all from me, James!
Thanks for sharing

  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2008-09-06 22:46]

Hello James, a cute Albatros shot with splendid details. TFS.

Hi James,
A nice capture of this beautiful waved albatross. Very well composed with sharp details and very good light. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Sorry I'm not able to catch up with your pace, bro!I've got my timing all muddled up!
Yet another awesome shot!
I wonder is this albatross sitting on eggs?So it looks, but there seems to be no nest!
forget it, me and my silly brain!

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2008-09-07 4:59]

Hello James,
Wonderful image of this incredible bird. Great notes add to the appreciation of this posting. Thank you James.

  • Great 
  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 988 W: 4 N: 3277] (14761)
  • [2008-09-07 9:00]

Hello James, Superb shot and great clarity shot. Excellent composition and well presented. Ganesh

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2008-09-08 4:37]

Hello James,
Excellent and fine shot of an Waved Albatros on Galapagos. I was amazed to see the picture taken in 1990. It brings souvenirs back to me, looking at these great birds flying over the ocean, courtshiping also in a very funny way. We have seen them also on Espanola and our five year old son at the time, was enchanted looking at them.
Thanks and best regards

  • Great 
  • degani Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 130 W: 0 N: 322] (2607)
  • [2008-09-08 11:59]

hi again James,
another beautiful "portrait" of a nice bird, really very well done James
kind regards

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