Gannet chick, Muriwai gannet colony, NZ. Image; Su Leslie 2021
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.
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.