Are sightings of large cryptid birds sometimes merely known birds far from their natural habitat? Of course they are. A recent series of sightings of a yellow-nosed albatross (Thalassarche chlororhynchos) is a case in point.
A yellow-nose albatross, the first of the species ever found in Ontario, is convalescing at Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre in Napanee. Photo: Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre/Globe and Mail.
According to Canada’s Ottawa Citizen:
Bruce Di Labio brought great news from his friend Paul Martin in Kingston. On July 4 , Mr. Martin was in Kingston [Ontario] near the General Hospital. To his amazement a large bird flew over about 15 metres away from him. He recognized it as an albatross far away from the open Atlantic Ocean that is its home.
It was a yellow-nosed albatross. Overhead, the underwings were white with a thin black edge around them. It was considerably larger, with a 2.2-metre wing span, than the ring-billed gulls that were chasing it. The bill was heavy with a black lower mandible and the distinctive yellow upper one from which it gets its name. Mr. Martin was able to observe this rare bird for for 15 minutes until it flew away towards the east.
On July 18 , he received an e-mail from Sue Meech on Wolfe Island, which is in the St. Lawrence not far from Kingston. The albatross had been found by a cottager there. It was beached, emaciated and weak. It was taken to the Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre to be cared for and, hopefully, it will recover and be able to return to its Atlantic home. Time will tell.
This yellow-nosed albatross was a first for Eastern Ontario, cause for much jubilation. Only one other sighting had been recorded, in Upstate New York at Lake Champlain on May 8, 1994.