DP Photo Challenge: Anticipation, take 1

Gannet guarding an egg. Seen a few weeks ago at the Muriwai Gannet Colony, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Gannet guarding an egg. Seen at the Muriwai Gannet Colony, Auckland, October 2016. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

During the last couple of months, the Big T and I have made a few trips out to the Muriwai gannet colony to watch these amazing birds during their nesting season.

We’ve just made our first visit in a few weeks; anticipating the arrival of chicks. We weren’t disappointed. In fact, it seems that most probably hatched not long after our last visit.

All over the cliff-faces there are adult gannets jostling for space in their shallow nests with fast-growing off-spring. Some seem to be nearly as large as their parents, but are still covered in gorgeous white down.

Adult gannet with chick. Seen at Muriwai Gannet Colony, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Adult gannet with chick. Seen December 2016 at the Muriwai Gannet Colony, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

The chicks are born bald, and develop their white down over a period of about a month. This is replaced over following weeks with distinctive, speckled, plumage. After about four months in the nest, they take off — flying to the east coast of Australia where they remain for several years before attempting the flight back to the colony to find a mate and breed. It’s estimated that even in a good year, only about 25 percent of the birds return safely to New Zealand (Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand, Gannets: Life History and Feeding)

This post is a contribution to the Daily Post Photo Challenge. This week the theme is anticipation.

 

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