May 9, 2000 - A Yellow-nosed Albatross is spotted off Buzzard's Bay in Massachusetts (near Martha's Vineyard). On the same day, one is seen near Fire Island, New York.
May 21, 2000 - A Yellow-nosed Albatross flies over the southern coastal portion of New Jersey's Garden State Parkway (not seen by me... I wish!).
May 23, 2000 - Slightly south of the May 21 sighting, one is seen near the Delaware Bayshore
2000-2007 - Several sightings of this species are noted in Massachusetts, Maine, and Rhode Island
April 28, 2007 - An emaciated Yellow-nosed Albatross is found in a cow pasture behind the home of Shelley and Ryan Coite of Cape Neddick, Maine.
This bird has been rehabilitated and was released off Cape Cod on May 21. The albatross was fitted with a transmitter and a web site is in the works to track its movements. Albatrosses cover huge areas. So, could this bird make its way south to NJ? Anything is possible... and it's possible that this bird is the same bird that flew over the Garden State Parkway.
There seems to be much speculation over how many Yellow-nosed Albatrosses have strayed to the northern hemisphere from their traditinal southern haunts. A sub-adult was seen in North Carolina in February 2000 prior to the sightings mentioned above (all adult birds). Those observers documented their findings and have speculated that 4-5 individuals may be roaming the Atlantic. Could the one individual seen near Martha's Vineyard fly to Fire Island, 200+ km away, in one day? There is much to learn about this species' status in the Atlantic. Perhaps the tracking device on the released bird will educate us.
Photo credit: Mike Danzenbaker