Gannets Gannets

Gannets

This large, bright, attractive bird with black wingtips is known as the solan goose in Orkney. There are 5,000 pairs in Orkney with the largest colony on remote Sule Stack 40 miles west of mainland Orkney. In 2003, part of the colony moved from Sule Stack to Sule Skerry, and there are now 1,000 pairs there. In the same year, another part of the colony moved to Noup Head in Westray and there are now 600 pairs there. Given that there had been no new gannet colonies established in the North Atlantic in the twenty years up to 2003, this was an unusual occurence.

They can plunge into the sea to fish from a height of 100 feet or 30 metres and the main reason for the success of the species, while other seabird numbers are in decline, is that it eats a wide variety of fish. The gannet (Morus bassanus) always breeds in colonies on isles and inaccessible cliffs. It is while it is diving or in flight, gliding with outstretched wings or flying with deep strong wing beats that this bird is at its most spectacular, with its wingspan of 165-180cm. One of the best spots to get up close is Noup Head on Westray.

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A gannet in flight in OrkneyThis gannet is searching for food in the seaA gannet diving to collect fishAn Orkney gannet scanning the surface of the seaLapwing Also known as a teeick in Orkney (and ...

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Gannets

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Click to Enlarge A gannet in flight in OrkneyClick to Enlarge This gannet is searching for food in the seaClick to Enlarge A gannet diving to collect fishClick to Enlarge An Orkney gannet scanning the...

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Gannets

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A gannet in flight in OrkneyThis gannet is searching for food in the seaA gannet diving to collect fishAn Orkney gannet scanning the surface of the seaShelduck A mainly black and white duck with a ...

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