Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Return of the Gannet

Gannets return to the Strait of Gibraltar during September and October. Juvenile birds are most obvious at first and are the ones which migrate furthest, reaching down to tropical West Africa.
These birds were born this summer in colonies on the north-west coasts of Europe, in France, the British Isles and Scandinavia and quickly make their way south to avoid the harsh northern winters and make the most of the concentrations of fish in the Strait of Gibraltar and coastal upwellings along the proximal Atlantic coasts of Portugal, Spain and Morocco.
Large shoal of Grey Mullet off Gibraltar today (above).
These birds will now remain with us until the spring and many will linger on through their first summer. It is only as they get older, and their plumage progressively whiter (below) that the urge to migrate north in the spring gets stronger.
So here are a few more images of these amazingly "painted" birds, which appear drab and brown at distance but which reveal beauty at close quarters - don't you think so too?


  1. Acostumbrado a identificarlo por el blanquísimo plumaje de los adultos, con la punta de las alas negras y la cabeza amarillenta, me ha costado reconocer al primer vistazo al alcatraz inmaturo.
    Hace años lo adscribíamos al género Sula. Veo que ahora prefieren llamarlo Morus.

    Es una suerte, Clive, asomarse a este blog. Cada día hay una sorpresa y algo curioso que aprender.



  2. gracias amigo Juan, por tus palabras y reflexiones. Si ahora regresa a Morus, que era su genero original!

    Thank you abebedores.