The Fulmar Triathlon

Fulmars are one of my favourite birds. All animals have some sort of compromise in their bodies because of the range of functions they have to fulfil and Fulmars seem to compromise just like others. Fulmars have to compete in the triathlon of walking, swimming and flying. A Fulmar’s weakest triathlon event is definitely walking. With legs too far back for efficient walking, they are ungainly and awkward on land. They are beautiful, but out of their element on Earth.

Sitting Fulmar - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

The Fulmar’s second best triathlon event is swimming. They have large feet with fully webbed toes and can make powerful strokes to propel themselves.

Swimming Fulmar - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

They are very confident on the sea.

Their strongest triathlon event is definitely flying.

Flying Fulmar - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Fulmars are complete masters of the skies and live to cruise the wind.

Flying Fulmar - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Earth, wind and water, Fulmars live in and on them all, but the wind is their true calling.

Fulmars - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) Fulmars - The Fulmars look beautiful in this light. They look odd on land because they sit low down on their feet rather than perching high up on their toes. They are noisy and strangely attentive. I feel like I’ve been allowed an audience with strange alien beings.
Westray - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) The Fulmars of Backarass - We’re walking down past Backarass on Westray. It’s a special landscape of shattered rocks and still pools: The weather is fabulous and every step is a joy: It’s not the right weather for photography of one of my favourite spots: the unnamed rock arch: We walk along the coastal path, …
Fulmar - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) Magnificent Mallimacks - There are Fulmars, called Mallimacks here in Orkney, on the wing at the pier on Papa Westray This one is flying a repetitive flight-path: That makes it easier to photograph it as I’ve got multiple opportunities to compose the right shot, get it in focus and try out different settings. …
Fulmar - The Hall fo Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) Mallimack - Along the Westray coast are hundreds of Fulmars’ nests. Their fluffy chicks are a constant surprise while scrambling among the rocks. They spit rancid fish oil at intruders, which explains their local name, Mallimack, or ‘bad mouth’. They are such a contrast with the elegant adults wheeling and swirling overhead. …
Gannet at Bempton - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) Bempton birds – the miracle of flight - The power of flight still astonishes me. If only I could be up there with the birds at RSPB Bempton Cliffs. The Kittiwakes are the most elegant fliers: The Razorbills are comedy Puffins dressed in civvies: Puffins are the full show and not the dress-rehearsal: This one still has very …
Westray Coast - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) Westray Coast 50 – Day One - My adventures on the first of five days walking the entire coast of Westray.
Fulmar - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) When I see a Mallimack walk - “I seen a peanut stand, heard a rubber band I seen a needle that winked its eye But I be done seen about everything When I see a Mallimack walk (What’d you say, boy?) I said, when I see a Mallimack walk” With apologies to Oliver Wallace and Ned Washington …
Fulmar - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) The crossing - It only takes an hour and a half to cross the Pentland Firth from Scrabster to Stromness on the Northlink ferry. Standing on deck I can see all kinds of wildlife dramas unfolding. There’s a Fulmar, a tubenose related to the Albatross, gliding effortlessly faster than the ferry: They are …
Flying Fulmar - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) The Fulmar Triathlon - Fulmars are one of my favourite birds. All animals have some sort of compromise in their bodies because of the range of functions they have to fulfil and Fulmars seem to compromise just like others. Fulmars have to compete in the triathlon of walking, swimming and flying. A Fulmar’s weakest …

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