Muriwai Gannet Colony

1e6a8220The gannet colony at Muriwai beach is very different from what I have been used to in the past at Cape Kidnappers.  The same species of bird but they adapt to their environment in many different ways.  The nests at Muriwai was less decorated, made using dry grass and sticks, even bits of rope – anything that can be found on the near stripped banks along the hill tops.  But the wind conditions make it perfect for the birds to take off and land, and even more perfect for the photographers to get images of them soaring on the updrafts.1e6a7895-ffb2-editThe nests here were at varying staging, some with eggs, some with newly hatched chicks and some with chicks so large that the parents just stood alongside the nest as there was no room for them to join the chick. I enjoyed watching the couples reunite each time one returned from fishing.  They do a delightful dance each and every time and what was even more amusing to watch was the single birds mimicking this behaviour alongside, trying to be a part of the act.1e6a9241The younger birds hover around the outer edges of the colony and play at being grown up.  They will try and impress the ladies with twigs and sticks and will fight to keep control of these treasures if another single bird tries to take them away.  The sometimes get too close to the nests and will get the short shift rather quickly from the sitting parent bird.1e6a6183I made my way to the Muriwai gannets four times while we were in the area and it wasn’t until the very last time that the wind died down enough to be remotely comfortable.  It rained a few times but thankfully it was easy to see the rain coming before it arrived, so the camera gear was always protected from getting wet.1e6a9497It is just a short uphill walk from the carpark to the birds but I have to admit that by the fourth trip my feet were totally over it.  I don’t think I could have managed another day. I am however, very thankful that I made the effort because I have several hundred images that I totally love.  It is going to be hard to cull them down to a reasonable number.1e6a5805

© Digitalpix Photography