Gannets Take Flight


The fifth Friday of the month gave my team at work reason to go on an afternoon outing. Off to Muriwai we headed.
Blowing off the dust I took the now 10 year old Four Thirds Olympus E500. Although only 8MP, and old tech by current standards, I still love the out of camera rendering + the lens set I have with it have a great range! Limited to 400iso, and slow but ok focus times, I knew it was going to be a challenge catching these birds in mid flight – especially with the decent trade winds blowing. I certainly had many poor results,but here are a group I am quite pleased with. The E500 ain’t book-shelved quite yet still!

The Gannet Gang

The Gannet GangGannets are pretty thin on the ground this time of year at Muriwai. Give it a few more months and spring/summer should see them by the mass.

A few interesting facts:

  • Gannets eyes are far enough forward to give them binocular vision and allow them to judge distance well – which comes in handy when hunting/fishing
  • With the ability to achieve speeds of 100Kph (60Mph) in dive, they can catch fish deeper than many other surface diving birds
  • Unlike our Terns close relatives (see a few days back), Gannets are in no way at risk population wise with a LC (least concern) rating – their numbers are growing



The Gannets of Muriwai

The Gannets of MuriwaiTodays shot, to some level or another, is likely mirrored in many peoples albums who have visited Muriwai. The gannets, when in full force, must be one of the major draw cards to this wild western beach. As mentioned yesterday, originally off the mainland (look to the horizon), once real-estate  ran out, they began setting on the cliff top in the foreground of todays image. Centre right, half way down the rock wall, we can see the Terns lower populated spot that featured in yesterdays image.

Out to the distance we can see Oaia Island, the Gannets motherland (for the area). Also home to fur seals, it paints an image of the sort of island a pirate may get marooned on when his crew shout a mutiny.

Looking over the images form my visit, its amazing how calm the sea was last week!


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