When a Gannet lands next to us

It’s blustery at the top of the 60 metre-high cliffs on Westray’s Noup Head. We’re surrounded by Gannets flying past us when one decides to land next to us on the clifftop:

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

We can hardly believe it is so close:

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

It turns to stare at us with its strange blue-rimmed eyes:

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

And this is the moment that we met The Professor:

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

We’re so close we can see every feather and all the detail in its eye and on its beak:

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

It’s a deeply alien encounter with an animal which inhabits a completely different world from us:

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

Yet here we are, staring into each other’s eyes.

This one has an immaculate head but is still in juvenile plumage. It’s still young. Maybe that’s why it’s less wary of us.

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

Can we ever know how they think and what they feel?

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

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