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Gannet in flight

Gannet in flight
Photo Information
Copyright: Pekka Valo (pekkavalo1) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 423 W: 54 N: 2120] (6789)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-04-06
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 400D, Canon 100-400 L + 1.4x Extender
Exposure: f/7.1, 1/500 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-03-27 3:21
Viewed: 3731
Points: 22
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Flying adult Gannet in RSPB Bempton Cliffs nature reserve

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Gannets are seabirds in the family Sulidae, closely related to the boobies.
The gannets are large black and white birds, with long pointed wings and long bills. Northern gannets are the largest seabirds in the North Atlantic, with a wingspan of up to 2 meters. The other two species occur in the temperate seas around southern Africa and southern Australia and New Zealand.
Gannets hunt fish by diving from a height into the sea and pursuing their prey underwater. Gannets have a number of adaptations which enable them to do this:
they have no external nostrils;
they have air sacs in their face and chest under their skin which act like bubble-wrap, cushioning the impact with the water;
their eyes are positioned far enough forward on their face to give them binocular vision, allowing them to judge distances accurately.
Gannets can dive from a height of 30 m, achieving speeds of 100 km/h as they strike the water, enabling them to catch fish much deeper than most airborne birds.
The gannet's supposed capacity for eating large quantities of fish has led to "gannet" becoming a disapproving description of somebody who eats excessively, similar to "glutton".

Mating and nesting
Gannets are colonial breeders on islands and coasts, which normally lay one chalky blue egg. It takes five years for gannets to reach maturity. First-year birds are completely black, and subsequent sub-adult plumages show increasing amounts of white.
The most important nesting ground for Northern gannets is the United Kingdom with about two thirds of the world's population. These live mainly in Scotland. The rest of the world's population is divided between Canada, Ireland, Faroe Islands and Iceland, with small numbers in France (they are often seen in the Bay of Biscay), the Channel Islands and Norway. The biggest Northern gannet colony is in the Scottish islands of St Kilda; this colony alone comprises 20% of the entire world's population. Bass Rock in the Firth of Forth is also famous for its large gannet population.

Systematics and evolution
The three gannet species are now usually placed in the genus Morus, Abbott's Booby in Papasula, and the remaining boobies in Sula, but some authorities believe that all nine sulid species should be considered congeneric, in Sula. At one time, the gannets were considered to be a single species.
Northern Gannet, (also known as "Solan Goose"), Morus bassanus
Cape Gannet, Morus capensis
Australasian Gannet, Morus serrator
Most fossil gannets are from the Late Miocene or Pliocene, a time when the diversity of seabirds in general was much higher than today. It is not completely clear what caused the decline in species at the end of the Pleistocene; increased competition due to the spread of marine mammals and/or supernova activity which led to mass extinctions of marine life are usually assumed to have played a role.
The genus Morus is much better documented in the fossil record than Sula, though the latter is more numerous today. The reasons are not clear; it might be that boobies were better-adapted or simply "lucky" to occur in the right places for dealing with the challenges of the Late Pliocene ecological change, or it could be that many more fossil boobies still await discovery. Notably, gannets are today restricted to temperate oceans while boobies are also found in tropical waters, whereas several of the prehistoric gannet species had a more equatorial distribution than their congeners of today.

jconceicao, Proframe, goldyrs, jaycee, dejo, rousettus has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Proframe: I agreepekkavalo1 1 03-27 07:04
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello Pekka,

Fantastic capture.Nice colours with excellent details and good sharpnes.

Hi Pekka,
very good shot. The gannet is one of my favorite birds and I like your picture very much.

Hi Pekka,

Very nice in flight shot.
Lovely warm color tones and soft BG.
Very nice feather details in the darker parts, but a few burn out spots at the lighter feathers.
Excellent note.
Would like to have seen a little more space on the left side to give the Gannet a bit more space to fly in to.

Best regards, Harry

What an amazing shot!Very well done!

Great job catching this guy in flight! As I am learning, panning at 400mm+cropped sensor etc is not always easy!

I love the face - especially the yellows against the cool blue background.

  • Great 
  • Arjun Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 358 W: 7 N: 1237] (7593)
  • [2008-03-27 10:24]

hi pekka,
beautiful picture,shot at a great angle.
Lovely positoned picture...nice details too,
(how could you take such an aerial shot)

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-03-27 15:33]

Hi Pekkka,

An amazing shot of this Gannet in flight. You froze him perfectly presenting him with wonderful colors and details. I love the eye and the beak! The wing tips are fantastic. I would have liked have seen some more space in front of him - I think that would make this great picture even better.


  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2008-03-27 15:41]

Hello Pekka! Very nice shot of the flying Gannet. The composition is fine, it's sharp and clear and the background is beautiful, thanks!


  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-03-28 21:02]

Hello Pekka

A beautiful in flight shot.The image is sharp with lovely warm lighting and excellent colour saturation.
Very good sharpness and detail
Excellent POV.


  • Great 
  • dejo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 344 W: 51 N: 520] (2242)
  • [2008-03-30 0:29]

Hello Pekka,
fantastic in-flight capture!
magnificent bird and you captured it in a great pose!
regards, Dejan

Hi Pekka,
I think this is a Sula bassana (=Morus bassanus) which occurs often in Turkish seashore in winter period. Up to now, I have seen it only from Gibraltar Straight in Spain. They are beautiful colored sea birds. You capture it from a great POV with great lighting, focus. Thanks for sahring. best wishes

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