Monday, February 27, 2012

Northern Gannets

 

Gannets are my entry into Tuesday Tweets organized by ecobirder.  This past weekend my wife and I took a trip to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and Eastern Shore of Virginia with the Hampton Roads Bird Club.  I plan on post some of what we saw but for today I'll focus on the large flocks of Northern Gannets that we saw at the Bridge Tunnel.   There were thousands of them out over the mouth of the bay when we were there.  While on island #4 we stood facing into 30-40 mph winds just watching gannets stream by.


They were passing really close to the island and the stream of them lasted the full 40 minutes we were there (and I'm sure it was going on before we arrived and well after).


While I've seen Gannets plenty of times before, I've never seen so many or had them so close.  There were times where I couldn't get them fully in the frame of my 400 mm lens. 


The only missing was there were very few that were diving, and none close to the island.  Groups the past few weekends have reported seeing full flocks of Gannets diving all at once.  That is an amazing sight as they fold back their wings and hit the water like spears.  And there are also often whales around as they feed on a lot of the same food.  There is a great video of it on David Attenborough's The Life of Birds.  I highly recommend the show to anyone interested in birds.



12 comments:

  1. Great flight shots! Thanks for particiapting in this weeks Tuesday Tweets.

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    1. Thanks, I enjoyed your Shrike this week.

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  2. Hi there - they really are great birds - we have a colony (of a different species) of gannets in the middle of the bay on which Melbourne sits. Nice to see the northern ones again.

    Stewart M - Australia

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    1. I would love to see a colony of them. One of the women on the trip I was on had visited a colony in New Zealand several years ago.

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  3. Great shots, I loved watching the Gannets dive. What a show they put on! Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Great action shots!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  5. This must be an amazing sight to see in person. Thanks for sharing these wonderful photos. Also thanks for the tip on Attenborough's The Life of Birds film, I will check it out for sure!

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    1. It was quite an experience. So was the 40 mph winds out over the water. I definitely wouldn't have minded lighter winds. And I hope you enjoy The Life of Birds. It is actually part of a series covering mammals, plants and insects. They are all quite incredible.

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  6. Thanks for everyone's positive comments.

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