The Gannets Colony at Cape Kidnappers is protected from predators as it sits within the boundaries of a predator free fenced in area. The colony is growing and each year I go there I can see how the colony has crept further into the area where the 4×4 buses drive us to. There are two ways to view these gannets – by the shore line at low tide (tractor, cycling or walking), or by overland 4×4 buses which stop right next to the colony. You just can’t get any closer to these birds, it is truly amazing. The smell can get pretty amazing (and not in a good way) too so be prepared if you go there. I choose to go by the bus because of my mobility issues and have always found this to be the easiest way to access the gannets.
Here you are able to see the birds nesting right in front of you, see them fly directly overhead and landing at their nest site ready to relieve the other parent bird from duty. These images were taken in early January, the chicks were starting to get some of their flight feathers and many were larger than their parents. Sadly we also saw one chick with a deformed beak and while it was getting fed adequately by its parents, when they stopped feeding it I suspect it didn’t survive.
Nesting materials here are entirely seaweed and you can see the male gannets bringing seaweed to their mates. Seaweed is the currency of the well to do, the more seaweed you have the higher up in the colony you are. If you travel to view these gannets on the buses then you will receive lots of information about their behaviours and history from the driver as you are taken through the farm and out to the colony. Well worth the trip – I will be returning there again later in the year.
This project is a work in progress and more images will be added over time.