Clean, or Run-Away?, Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

 

A slow process to get airborne again @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

A slow process to get airborne again @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

The gannet’s ability to dive for fish with lightning velocity reverses the speed to get back into the air.

Gannets work-out @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Gannets work-out @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

It is the gannet’s most strenuous work-out as it needs to ‘jump’ over the water surface for quite some time before being airborne again.

Dedication @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Dedication @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

It assumes dedication, endurance and skill.

Marvellous experience @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Marvellous experience @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

For observing bystanders like myself, it’s an unforgettable experience.

Olympic discipline @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Olympic discipline @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

This looks like a long-jump discipline at the Olympics. And if that doesn’t make you smile in amuse- and amazement, then I don’t know what will.

So far, so good @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

So far, so good @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Up until this point, the gannet has burned quite some calories. This is hard work for anyone.

Two meter wingspan @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Two meter wingspan @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Not every dive is successful and may be repeated a few times before snatching a meal. Gannets don’t have the wingspan of an albatross and therefore uses more fuel whilst soaring the sky. This leaves the gannet two options after the plunge.

Option a).

Option a) @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Option a) @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

A rest is called for. Their wings are neatly tucked in behind and extend beyond their body.

Sunny smiles @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Sunny smiles @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

This gannet is truly relaxed and enjoys warming rays on calm waters.

Floating away @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Floating away @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

A highly floating buoyancy gives the bird stability on the surface.

Thick gown @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Thick gown @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

 

This suggests thick down feathers for insulation. These birds can live in cold places. More importantly, they can dive into icy waters and rest on stormy seas, they’re all oiled up.

Shag on a rock @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Shag on a rock @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Cormorants are better divers, but their feathers aren’t insulated as well. They need to dry their wings after their acrobatics underwater.

Shake it @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Shake it @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Gannets shake excessive waters off, just like that.

Action shot @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Action shot @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

This procedure is often repeated and looks fabulous on film.

Colour spectrum @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Colour spectrum @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

They could be immediately ready for take-off again.

Rest some more @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Rest some more @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Or one could rest a bit longer.

Cleaning protocol @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Cleaning protocol @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

An extensive clean is usually part of the floating protocol. A healthy state of their plumage is extremely important as it is for any bird.

Peaceful rest is best @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Peaceful rest is best @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

I had gannets float in front of my kayak many times, resting and cruising on the ocean.

Paddle feet clear waters @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Paddle feet clear waters @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

The clear waters even show the gannet’s paddle feet. They appear to be too exhausted to fly off again, as I came curiously closer. Gannets prefer open waters to rest peacefully. They stay well clear of lamp posts or other elevated resting options. Because they can.

Reflections at rest @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Reflections at rest @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

And because they were attracted to my camera, they posed right in front of me. Those reflections from the anchor pole look fabulous.

Gannets pole dance @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Gannets pole dance @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

The small ripples created by the gannet’s movements reconstruct the image of the pole amazingly.

Wing reflections @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Wing reflections @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

The wings could be part of the pole. If gannets are well-rested and hungry again, they need to take to the air again. This really is a humorous extravaganza to watch and brings us to option b).

The runway @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

The runway @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

The birds take to the sky once more. Like an oversized jumbo jet, the gannet needs a long runway to take off. This name is used at airports, for those who never knew.

Which way? @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Which way? @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

For that, one needs to decide on a direction first. Maybe left?

Maybe right? @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Maybe right? @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Better right? Nah, full steam straight ahead.

Wing check @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Wing check @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Does a quick wing check signal the starter motor is ready to proceed? The wings are in working order and ready to propel.

Excessive weight @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Excessive weight @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Excessive weight is thrown overboard with one last cheeky smile. See ya later, gator!

Fertiliser @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Fertiliser @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

This actually fertilises the ocean and recycles the food chain.

A deep breathe @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

A deep breathe @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

One quick breath and we’re ready for take-off. The runway is free, Roger that.

A few wing flaps @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

A few wing flaps @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

A few strong wing-flaps gives the heavy body forward and upwards momentum simultaneously.

Jumbo taking off @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Jumbo taking off @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

This needs to be increased in distance and height for a period of time.

Hopping over waters @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Hopping over waters @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Their feet are hopping over the runway gannet style.

Feet slapping @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Feet slapping @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

This is comical. The slapping feet sound like laughter. They don’t gain more height whilst leaping off the surface. Physical laws explain this correctly.

Physical laws @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Physical laws @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Their short feet can not be clipped behind at take-off, as not enough momentum has been created to overcome gravitational laws. Their feet would create too much drag. Friction kicks in and the bird dives into the water unwillingly. Nature gave these birds the hopp-it technique, it works perfectly.

Marked runway @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Marked runway @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

The runway is marked before the bird takes to the sky.

One last push @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

One last push @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

One final jump and we have take-off.

Up in the air @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Up in the air @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Gracefully again in orbit.

Ready to take the next plunge @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Ready to take the next plunge @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Ready for the next plunge.

One more time @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

One more time @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

I don’t know how many hours I spent, observing and filming this gannet show.

Not far from me @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Not far from me @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Only a few meters away from me. It was magnetic, I couldn’t getaway.

Taking the edge @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Taking the edge @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

They truly take-off the edge. 

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