Laysan Albatross in the Desert 4/10/06
- I was on a camping trip in the Anza Borrego Desert State Park with a friend. We were
camping near Lower Willows in Coyote Canyon. At about 8:30 am, I was observing some
other bird (that I have completely forgotten about) when my friend says "uh Jeff... look
quick". I look up to the southwest about 60 feet away and can't believe what I'm seeing; a
large albatross that was not a Black-footed flying by us. I get my binoculars on it as it
cruises by and I get an unbelievably clear view of the side and underside of a Laysan
Albatross from 40 feet away!!! We watched it flap its way north until it was out of view
(about 2 minutes).
An unbelievable experience...
I apologize for not writing sooner or calling the RBA, but I had no cell phone reception for
a couple days and I just got home last night.
I noticed that the Sibley Western Guide marks the area I was in as rare for the Laysan. Does
anyone know of other observations in this area? There is an article by England and
Laudenslayer (1995) that mentions spring pelagic bird migration at or west of San
Gorgonio Pass. I was thinking that would be an obvious pathway for birds in the Sea of
Cortez/Gulf of California. Although, I was farther east. The article is at http://
I'd love to know more about my cool observation. Good birding.