Short-tailed Albatross

Short-tailed Albatross Monterey Bay, California

By: Brad R Lewis
Date: September 2021
Location: Monterey Bay, - Santa Cruz, Moss Landing, Monterey   - California, USA


I have always believed life is about being in the right place at the right time, but birding and wildlife photography has taken this belief to another level. In September 2021, I was on Monterey Bay in my boat looking for whales to photograph when the call came out that a Short-tailed Albatross had been spotted again for the second time in a week. A Captain out of Santa Cruz first spotted the bird, and then Captain Tim Zoliniak was able to stay with the bird till I arrived. Based on spotting earlier in the week, Captain and Naturalist Kate Spencer and Don Baccus from Fast Raft had already started communicating with USFWS, NOAA, and other wildlife scientists. By the time I arrived at the bird, Kate had called me and relayed instructions to get video (if possible) and document the bird's general condition, takeoff, and flight. I recorded these requests during the next several hours, including four takeoffs, eating of a Rock Cod, preening, and general overall behavior.

I was amazed at the team of scientists who had come together to evaluate this bird's condition. The bird had damage to its right-wing primary feathers and numerous other areas. The team anxiously waited while I uploaded nearly 2500 photos grouped by takeoff/inflight and general categories. Over the next few days, they concluded the bird should not be captured and published an article, "Don't Chum the Albatross!" Additionally, an article published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, "Our Ocean Backyard I Lone, endangered short-tailed albatross visits region."

Thank you to the scientists, boat captains, volunteers, and law enforcement teams from US Fish and Wildlife Services, NOAA, UCDavis, rescue groups, and others for their dedication to this bird. I must admit I was awed at the level of detail and attention this group gave to ensuring the health and safety of this bird.

For me, it was the honor of being associated with such a unique and caring team of people, the once in a lifetime opportunity of spending several hours with a Short-tailed Albatross (an endangered species), and being in the right place at the right time in the middle of Monterey Bay.

Short-tailed Albatross Gallery

  • Short-tailed Albatross

    Short-tailed Albatross

    Monterey Bay - Moss Landing, Monterey, Santa Cruz CA USA

  • Short-tailed Albatross

    Short-tailed Albatross

    Monterey Bay - Moss Landing, Monterey, Santa Cruz CA USA

  • Short-tailed Albatross

    Short-tailed Albatross

    Monterey Bay - Moss Landing, Monterey, Santa Cruz CA USA

  • Short-tailed Albatross

    Short-tailed Albatross

    Monterey Bay - Moss Landing, Monterey, Santa Cruz CA USA


BradRLewis - Snowy Owl Photoshoot

Brad R Lewis Photography – Nature and Wildlife Photographer Brad’s dual passion for the outdoors and photography have led him to focus his work on wildlife habitats and conservation. His works are used by conservation groups and wildlife refuges to help illustrate their causes.


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