Rare sighting of albatross off southwest coast


Birdwatch Ireland says a recent sighting of a black-browed albatross by Irish marine scientists is “very rare”. The bird, normally found in the Southern Ocean, was sighted off the southwest Irish coast by staff and students from Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology during a trip on the State research vessel Celtic Explorer.

The group was among 20 scientists from both sides of the Border and Scotland who have recently returned from an offshore survey of whales, dolphins, seabirds and plankton.

The black-browed albatross or “Mollymawk” ( Thalassarche melanophrys) is a large marine bird which gets its name from its dark eye-stripe. Birdwatch Ireland development officer Niall Hatch said the species had been spotted from headlands here several times before, a long way from its habitat in the southern hemisphere.

The Celtic Explorerresearch trip was led by institute researcher Dr Joanne O’Brien and PhD student Conor Ryan.