Hyperbole required

Gannets at Bass Rock,  August 2016

I don’t know if it’s just me, but the seagulls I meet these days seem to be giants; overfed by well-intentioned tourists, I reckon.  Bigger still, though, is the gannet.  And they don’t steal your chips or ice cream, like the seagulls do.

In fact, the Northern Gannet is Britain’s largest seabird. Sixty percent of Europe’s gannets live in Scotland and the single largest colony makes its home on Bass Rock, in the Firth of Forth.  The rugged white rock is hard to miss.  It takes on its white colour from late January until October as this albino effect is provided by the white bodies of the gannets.  The huge white birds, with 1.8 metre wingspans and contrasting black wingtips, fly gracefully around the island, mounting high in the air and diving at up to 96 kmph to capture their food.


I cannot overstate the elegance of these birds, with long, slender necks, sharp beak and pointed tails.  I can watch them for hours, with barely a blink.

For a good view, be sure to head to the Scottish Seabird Centre at North Berwick.  Here you can control their interactive cameras, zooming in for a live reality show, bird-style.  It looks a pretty chaotic life on that rock.  In the air, they demonstrate speed, control, grace, power, beauty, domination.  As I said, hyperbole is allowed.

If you fancy getting closer still, there are thrilling boat trips on offer from Easter until October.  Be sure to book in advance.



aDSC_0636_ppCopyright Debbie Smyth, 5 November 2016





14 thoughts on “Hyperbole required

  1. Now that’s a bunch of birds! I’m no activist but dislike the feeding of gulls. They become moochers and junk food addicts! Give me the gulls who actually fish for their food!


    1. Thanks Yes, the safety of this spot must be why it is such a large colony. It has expanded a lot recently but is probably reaching capacity

      On Sat, Nov 5, 2016 at 7:32 PM, Travel with Intent wrote:



  2. Most definitely organised chaos, and your hyperboles are well place, in fact I would say all your accolades are indeed true re the beauty, ability, an the charm they display in their courtship. Great post and some super photos! Thanks for sharing!


  3. Great post! I am fascinated by animals and wildlife. We share the planet with so many other magnificent species and so it should be our duty to protect and respect them, which is why I’m an AW/AR activist and advocate. I don’t agree with feeding wildlife but have in the past before my activist days. Now, we only feed birds who winter with us so they have something, just don’t want them to lose their wild instincts.


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