On a Whim Wm's world travels

13 Mar 2006

Gannet Colony

Filed under: General,New Zealand — wm @ 7:18 am

Yesterday we took a trip out to the Gannet Colony.  Gannets are sea birds, related to boobies and cormorants (which they call shags in NZ).  To get there, we got on a trailer hitched to the back of a tractor, and went out along a beach for 9km.  The beach was rather narrow, with the ocean on one side and tall, steep, crumbly cliffs on the other.  In places, parts of the cliffs had fallen down and blocked the beach, so the tractor, with us in tow, went out into the ocean, splashing and slipping.  It was crazy fun.

You can only do this trip at low tide. At high tide the water is too deep and there isn’t enough beach for the tractors to go on. At one point the tractor even got stuck, and at another the driver had to get out with a pickaxe and break up a meter tall boulder so we could get through.

Then at the end we hiked up to the colony, with hundreds of birds.  Apparently this is one of the largest gannet colonies in the world.  If you’ve seen the movie “Winged Migration” (which you should!) gannets are the birds that dive into the water like arrows.  But there was no diving going on yesterday, mostly raising chicks.  This is near the end of the brooding season, and the chicks were teenagers getting ready to fly.  On their first flight, they take off for Australia.  The trip is so dangerous that 70 percent or more of them will not make it back to NZ to have their own chicks.

1 Comment »

  1. Very cool blog! Thank you for sharing your adventure with us!
    Love Nico

    Comment by Nico Wind — 29 Mar 2019 @ 12:20 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress