Gannets at Noup

I’m hanging over the edge of a 75 metre high cliff looking down at the dizzying heights below. The smell of a seabird city is all about us and the sounds of the Atlantic Ocean and the buffeting of the wind is in our ears.

Gannets at Noup Head - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

It’s a long way down. There appears to be a strict hierarchy of nesting here, with layer upon layer of different species of birds. Some of the ledges are incredibly narrow. That explains why cliff-nesting birds’ eggs are unusually pointed; so if they do roll they roll in a tight circle and don’t drop off.

Gannets’ nests are messy heaps of seaweed and sometimes discarded netting. Their chicks have already grown and are ridiculously big to still be in down feathers. The parents guard them devotedly.

Gannets at Noup Head - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

There’s a lot of ritual when parents come home from a hard session of diving for fish. There’s head shaking and bill touching and preening to greet each other.

Gannets at Noup Head - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

It almost looks tender.

Gannets at Noup Head - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

One looks directly up the cliff towards me. It’s slightly unnerving:

Gannets at Noup Head - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

In flight they are powerful and their flight is controlled. They are wonderful to watch. We stay here for hours.

Gannets at Noup Head - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

There’s a warm glow from the setting sun over the Atlantic.

Gannets at Noup Head - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

We’re hungry and it’s time to go home. The shops are shut and we haven’t got any fish.

Previous Post
Westray Regatta - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Lugs, Skiffs and Yoles

I'm surrounded by lugs, skiffs and yoles. There are even bugs and centre-board allcomers. I'm at the Westray Regatta. I recognise what a ... Read more

Next Post
Puffins - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Prancing Puffins

Puffins mate for life. This pair are keeping each other company on a rock ledge outside their burrow near the Castle o' Burrian ... Read more

Feel free to leave a Reply :)