Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis)
Species
Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis). Taken at Bempton Cliffs, East Yorks, on July 1st 2014.
Taken at Bempton Cliffs, East Yorks, on July 1st 2014.
(1/500th sec at f11. Click image for larger version . © David Hastings)
Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis). Taken at Bempton Cliffs, East Yorks, on July 1st 2014.
Taken at Bempton Cliffs, East Yorks, on July 1st 2014.
(1/640th sec at f13. Click image for larger version. © David Hastings)

Description

L: 43-52 cm; WS: 101-117 cm

Almost gull-like, this grey and white seabird is related to the albatrosses. It is a versatile forager, taking crustaceans, fish offal and whale flesh.

It is found all around the British coast, but is least common along the east, south and north-west coasts of England.

It breeds in loose colonies on steep coastal cliffs (and occasionally on buildings). Outside the breeding season birds gather offshore, and large groups can often be seen.

It flies low over the sea on stiff wings, with shallow wingbeats, gliding and banking to show its white underparts then grey upperparts. At its breeding sites it will fly high up the cliff face, riding the updraughts. Chicks defend themselves by spitting a foul-smelling oil at intruders.

There are around half a million breeding pairs in the UK, and around 1.5 million birds over-winter here. Nevertheless, this species is on the UK amber list.

Sightings

19-May-2019 : Little Minch, Scotland
17-Jun-2015 : Lynton/Lynmouth, Devon (4+)
01-Jul-2014 : Bempton Cliffs, E. Yorks
08-May-2014 : Strumble Head, Pembrokeshire
06-May-2014 : Skomer, Pembrokeshire
04-May-2014 : Mwnt, Ceredigion
17-Apr-2011 : Isles of Scilly
23-Aug-2010 : Bempton Cliffs, E. Yorks
04-Jun-2008 : Farne Islands, Northumberland
25-Aug-2006 : Bempton Cliffs, E. Yorks
13-Jul-1999 : Isles of Scilly
13-Apr-1997 : Isles of Scilly