Finally, another trip. With friends, avid birdwatchers, we head north. Eight hundred kilometers to the North Sea by car and then another 65 ferry. Helgoland – Northern Sea Galapagos. A compulsory lesson of the basic alphabet of each wildlife photographer. Gourd, raccoons, alcoons, seals. On the day before departure, we learn from birwatcher servers that Albatross black-eyed albatross was observed on Helgoland some days ago. Damage. We had to go out a week earlier.
The ferry arrives at the island around noon. We do not go too far, we search for the address where we are staying, we pack the photocells and we cut to the cliffs. It’s busy, everything is bloody, shouting, laughing, skipping, opening beaks. Gigabytes flash on the card at a slow speed. The weather alternates all the possible shapes from the fierce sunshine to a rainy rain shower. It was not a wind problem. Its gusts still reached its standard storm intensity. We did not wake up until late in the evening. The sunset on the sea reef can not be missed. However, after the albatross, I neither see nor hear. All the promising silhouettes turned out to be “ordinary” gannets.
The next morning the same program. We head to the cliffs, turn a little different light into other places where something interesting happens again. After about one hour I will lift my head to relieve my tired neck. At that moment, the fury as frozen! ALBATROSS!! Black-browed albatross (Thalassarche melanophris). I’ll go to a pair of Dutch ornithologists and show them this rarity. The next two hours are directed to the long-haired slim wings. At first glance, it is clear that this silhouette can not be mistaken. Perhaps it would be useless to describe the elegance of the embodiment of elegance itself. The contrast of the dark gray back, the snowy bottom of the body, and the orange beak looked like the latest fashion. The dark stripe across the eye looked like a carefully painted eye shadow. About the acrobatic bits of this windmower not to mention. I started to (or perhaps) suspect that they were showing off all those captivating people. His loping was often selected just above the heads of fascinated observers. The biggest crackdown occurred when, after an hour of sailing and acrobatics, the gorgeous creature had sat on the edge of a colony of gannets about two feet from the crowd of people watching his “one man show.” All the other birds were forgotten for that moment, there was only one, and none of us could get enough of it.
On the way back from the cliffs we meet several dozen people with tripod binoculars. Some of us are asking: “Albatross? Albatross? “, And point to us. They are enthusiasts who have just arrived by ferry from the mainland to miss this exceptional event. In the evening, we enjoy a great fresh fish in one of our restaurants. Upon looking at us he asks, “Have you seen albatross?” The next day at breakfast, the lady of the home, in a very disordered English, says something about surprise. The kitchen has a fresh copy of the German daily „Bild“. On the cover page there is a photo of albatross! Advertising slogans are usually exaggerated. After this visit to Helgoland, I know that the nickname of the “North Sea Galapagos” is not just a phrase. It’s really so. I’ve experienced it myself.