Photography Challenge with Sue Karski

A Weekly Photo Themed Blog

Week 43 – #31 Out of Control

on May 24, 2014

31 Out of Control-231 Out of ControlLet me introduce the Gannets – one of the most uncoordinated birds.  These seabirds are known for their diving abilities and their ability to fish.   Gannets can dive from a height of 30 meters, achieving speeds of 100 km/h as they strike the water, enabling them to catch fish much deeper than most airborne birds.  They are large black and white birds with yellow heads.   The central tail feathers are also black. The head is yellow, with a pale blue-grey bill edged in black, and blue-rimmed eyes, long pointed wings that are closely related to the boobies.  And though they might be great divers but they are not very good landers.  They fly in with their legs and feet up, and then they basically just roll forward smacking their face into the ground.  Try as I may, I always managed to have another Gannet in the way of getting that face smack down.  But I did get partial landing.

They breed in colonies and these were taken at Cape Kidnappers near Hawke’s Bay in New Zealand.  It is known as one of the only mainland colony with the others all off shore.  It is a protected area helping the Gannets to restore the population.  We were able to get right up to the colony.  There were even a couple of benches, where I sat with my camera and tripod to enjoy watching the young ones prepare to fly and the adults taking off and landing.

Say Hello to my Lil’ Friend.

31 Out of Control-3

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9 responses to “Week 43 – #31 Out of Control

  1. shelby1120 says:

    What a close up. A face a mother could love?

  2. Sue Karski says:

    ha ha – that was mother. The kids were the ones with the dark grey and black feathers fluffy around their heads.

  3. tnwaltz says:

    I enjoyed looking at the photos of the Gannets landing (plop!!!) and reading about it. I have never heard of this bird until your post this week. Thanks for the education. I came upon, “Say hello to my Lil’ Friend,” and was expecting to see a cute little fluffy chick. Wow, was that ever a surprise!

    • Sue Karski says:

      Ha Ha, now you know I do not follow the norms. The cute lil fluffy chick did not have the striking face as this adult. Until you see and hear them land, you are not ready for these birds. You have to imagine there were hundreds of birds there and they were all “talking”. You hear the wind being knocked out of them as they smack the ground. It is not a loud sound but there amongst all the other sounds from a nesting site. I wasn’t sure what that sound was until I sat there and watched and listened.

  4. George says:

    They remind me of the now extinct Gooney Birds of the South Pacific. They were crash landers too. Pretty facial colors, but ugggggly.

  5. Nice to see these and great captures. They do look out of control!

  6. Sue Karski says:

    Thank you – it was fun to try to capture a landing. Wish I could have gotten one.

  7. preed913 says:

    Face planters!! – great photos … love the close up!

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