Monday 28 November 2011

Gannet colony

Takapu Refuge, Muriwai Regional Park, North Island, New Zealand

This is the only mainland gannet Morus serrator colony in NZ. Here they are perched right by the coast in the most windswept place one could imagine.

A beautiful bird gliding against the wind
They live on the edge of the wind, quoting one display board.
A couple of gannets ready to land 
Note how their forewings are bent.

Close up of the nesting birds.

Each adult is sitting on a nest where they lay one eggs. At this time of the year most of the chicks are a fair size. One can see several on this picture; one more or less in the centre is being fed. The smell emanating from the colony was incredible. More than fishy...


  1. Perhaps 10-15 m to the nesting ones. Absolutely incredible site; when we arrived David started laughing.

  2. Interesting that some have their heads bent back, sleeping I presume? In New Scientist last week, they raised the question of why some fossilised dinosaurs had their heads and necks bent right over their backs, perhaps the same reason?

  3. First, a reply to Margaret's comment. Warmer? They were all facing the wind, so when they rest it makes sense to tuck the head back.

    Thanks Richard. Here is a bit of information:
    Camera - Canon EOS 550D
    Lens - EX SIGMA, DG MACRO 105MM 1:2.8
    Settings - Manual: 1/6000, 7.1, ISO auto, AWB, AF
    I took lots of photos and was delighted that some were reasonably sharp.
    I have found that that this macro lens is really good for bird photography, a thing that I had never tried before. It works well from a reasonably close distance.