Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus)
Species
Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus). Taken at Bempton Cliffs, E. Yorks, on July 1st 2014.
Taken at Bempton Cliffs, E. Yorks, on July 1st 2014.
(1/640th sec at f11. Click image for larger version. © David Hastings)
Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus). Juvenile. Taken at Bempton Cliffs, E. Yorks, on July 1st 2014.
Juvenile. Taken at Bempton Cliffs, E. Yorks, on July 1st 2014.
(1/800th sec at f13. Click image for larger version . © David Hastings)
Northern Gannets (Morus bassanus). Adult and fledgling. Taken at Bempton Cliffs, E. Yorkshire on August 23rd 2010.
Adult and fledgling. Taken at Bempton Cliffs, E. Yorkshire on August 23rd 2010.
(1/250th sec at f13. Click image for larger version. © David Hastings)

Description

L: 81 - 110 cm; WS : 165 - 180 cm

Adults are large and bright white with black wingtips. They are distinctively shaped with a long neck and long pointed beak, long pointed tail, and long pointed wings.

Outside the breeding season Gannets are pelagic and mobile, with some reaching the Mediterranean and others west Africa. It is common around western European coasts in winter.

The biggest mainland breeding colony in Britain is at Bempton Cliffs in East Yorkshire. The other mainland colony is at Troup Head in Scotland. Big island colonies are on St Kilda, the Northern Isles and Bass Rock in Scotland, and Grassholm in Wales. About 218000 pairs nest in the UK.

At sea they flap and then glide low over the water, often travelling in small groups. They feed by flying high and circling before plunging into the sea for fish.

This species is on the UK amber list, due to breeding in significant numbers at only a few locations.

Sightings

12-Mar-2018 : Fuerteventura, Canary Islands (1)
10-Mar-2018 : Fuerteventura, Canary Islands (4)

20-Sep-2017 : Portland Bill, Dorset (80+)
19-Sep-2017 : Portland Bill, Dorset (1)

05-Nov-2016 : Trafico, Spain
05-Nov-2016 : Playa de Los Lances, Spain (3)

17-Jun-2015 : Lynton/Lynmouth, Devon (6)
16-Jun-2015 : Heddon Valley, Devon (8)

01-Jul-2014 : Bempton Cliffs, E. Yorks
08-May-2014 : Strumble Head, Pembrokeshire
06-May-2014 : Martin's Haven, Pembrokeshire