08 March 2009
acrylic on canvas, 60.8cm x 30cm, 3-2009
These sea-birds have the largest wingspan of any bird on Earth.
I clearly remember, as a kid, watching them following our ship across the entire Indian Ocean (en route from Australia to Italy, via the Cape of Good Hope). [Albatrosses soar mainly in the Southern Ocean, and also North Pacific.] These amazing birds just seem to 'lean on the air', effortlessly. I distinctly remember the downward-pointing outer-sections of their wings when soaring/gliding. They spend incredible time-spans gliding with minimal expenditure of energy, every so often diving down to catch a fish, then returning very quickly to low-soaring mode (tending to soar close to the ocean). These birds regularly circumnavigate the globe (in the Great Southern Ocean).
19 of the 21 species of albatross known to exist are now threatened with extinction. The albatross nests usually on small remote oceanic islands. Introduced species have attacked eggs, chicks and nesting adults. Reductions in fish stocks largely due to over fishing and, also long-line fishing, have had devastating effects on the albatross.