On our recent expedition to South Georgia, we observed majestic albatross, soaring very near to us both on the ship and on land. When we stopped at Elsehul, we were able to explore the nesting sites of both light-mantled sooty and gray-headed albatross. Watch as Jim Wilson, ornithologist and long-time Zegrahm leader, describes these enigmatic creatures.
You know it’s just an amazing privilege, and you know for some of them, they’ve never seen an albatross before, and they come within 10 feet of you, and they literally—you’re eye-to-eye with them, they come so close to the back deck some days.
Well we’re here in South Georgia, right at the northern end of the island in Elsehul, a nice little sheltered bay here, one of the narrowest points in South Georgia, actually. And we’ve come here to see two of the most enigmatic members of the albatross family breeding: light-mantled sooty albatross and gray-headed albatross, and they’re right here, side-by-side. They’re occupying old nest sites that they may have used for year after year. These are very long-lived birds, and it’s just amazing to be able to get so close to them.
Yeah, the light-mantled sooty albatross, like all albatross, have quite complex courtship behavior. They kind of seal the deal with these just amazing synchronized flights, like you see with no other bird.