Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #144 – Taking Flight

Birds, butterflies, bees and other insects, airplanes, balloons, bubbles, kites….well, this week, Tina invites us to be creative and choose whichever flying objects that catches our imagination and our lens. Go to her amazingly beautiful post to visit Kiawah!

I don’t have a perfect long lens, so I will stick with the Galapagos Islands, where you have no need for a long lens, but get to see and love all wildlife close-up, just by your side. And, they do have one of the funniest birds for taking flight

Also called the waved albatross, the Galapagos albatross (Phoebastria irrorata) is the largest bird in the Galapagos, with a wingspan of up to 250 centimetres (8.2 feet). They breed exclusively on Española Island.

The Galapagos albatross engages in a rather elaborate courtship dance, and as our timing was right, we were lucky enough to see this on our trip to the Galapagos Islands in 2016.
Once an albatross has selected a partner, they mate for life.
Albatrosses live much longer than other birds; they delay breeding for longer and invest more effort into fewer young. Most species survive upwards of 50 years, and the oldest recorded was ringed in 1956 as a mature adult and hatched another chick in February 2021, making her at least 70 years old. In fact she is the oldest confirmed wild bird and the oldest banded bird in the world.
These birds weigh between 2.7 and 4 kilograms (6 – 8.8 pounds) and males are typically quite a lot heavier than females. When taking off, albatrosses need to take a run up to allow enough air to move under the wing to provide a lift. We saw them run up to the edge of the cliff and jump off to propel themselves into the air. I was sitting 5-10 meters from the action.

However, landing is also quite tricky for this large bird. Because the albatross has a high stalling speed, the landing can seem rather clumsy. (Who doesn’t remember that Disney movie with Orville the Albatross…?)
Seeing a waved albatross fly is quite the sight, they are amazing flyers, soaring dynamically. They stay in the air for many hours and they rarely stall. That’s why sailors used to believe these birds were supernatural.
Due to their great wingspan the bird glides gracefully while up in the skies. In fact the wingspans of the largest great albatrosses (genus Diomedea) are the largest of any bird, exceeding 340 cm (11.2 ft),

In nautical lore, albatrosses are a sign of good fortune, and killing one is meant to bring bad luck. As in Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

Thank you for your responses to last week’s Colorful April challenge – you shared some amazing examples of April’s incredible beauty. We look forward to seeing your interpretation of this week’s Taking Flight challenge – please remember to link to Tina’s original post and to include the Lens-Artists Tag. We hope you’ll join us again next week when we welcome our Guest Host, Priscilla of Scillagrace . Be sure to check out her ever-thoughtful and interesting blog.

Stay safe and well.

89 reaktioner på ”Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #144 – Taking Flight

  1. Marvellous! I was in the Galapagos Islands in 1999, and have a similar photo of an albatross taking flight after running off the cliff edge — however, my photos from then are such terrible quality that I’m not about to post them!

  2. Pingback: Beautiful Great Blue Heron Love on Earth Day | Babsje Heron

  3. Thank you AC for introduing this lovely bird to us. I knew nothing about them, how interesting.
    The last two images are my favorite. Great captures!!

  4. Beautiful images Ann-Christine, I especially love the close-ups of the courting albatross – such a treat to see! 💖

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  6. Ohhhh, Galapagos, another of my dream locations. Life is definitely too short to visit all your dream locations in only one life. I‘m voting for a way longer life-time

  7. You have made my day and my week with these absolutely beautiful photos which truly make my heart sing ! Methinks those birds in their courtship could teach us all a thing or two . . .

  8. Wonderful choice for the week Ann-Christine, not only did I enjoy it, I learned so much! I do remember the Rime of the Ancient Mariner but it means so much more having understood this marvelous bird! The images are wonderful, especially loved your opener with the two birds.

    • Glad you liked them, Tina! My days on those islands are forever treasured. I loved the fact that no animal shied away from humans – Paradise.
      I loved especially your barrel owl portrait. So close to your home too! Otherwise I have the notion most of your birds there are connected to water. The spoonbills are truly amazing. Are the birds used to humans or do you always have to use a long lens? My arms and neck do not support long lenses, unfortunately, so Galapagos was a haven in that sense too.

  9. Wow, Ann-Christine. This is fabulous! I had no idea albatrosses were so large and they had to get up to speed to lift off! Wonderful! This is an absolute stellar post!

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