|The mainland gannet colony with Lawrence Rocks in the distance|
We walked about 100 metres to the very edge of the colony separated from us by an electrified fence whose main aim is to deter foxes. You could almost touch them.
Melissa gave us an excellent talk about the gannets. She is highly experienced with them and has spent time with Cape Gannet colonies in South Africa. Over there they have just a few Australasian Gannets in the colonies and over here we have, in the mainland population, just one breeding pair of Cape Gannets. They have a well grown chick which may be big enough to fledge. I recall it takes 100 days before fledging. Last year's Cape chick failed to fledge. Whilst we were there, a single adult Cape raucously landed [their calls are different] thus there are at least 3 Cape Gannets in this population of Australian Gannets.
These birds are just beautiful with lovely clean lines of black and white plus the grey beaks and "buff-washed head" Pizzey & Knight.
The differences between the two species are obvious but hard to spot when there are hundreds of heads moving every which way or resting tucked in or preening. The Australian Gannet has a dark iris. The iris of the Cape Gannet is much lighter, almost the colour of the orbital ring of pale china-blue.
|The bird at the back left is the Cape with the pale china-blue eye|
whilst the other two have the dark iris.
|The bird sitting to the right is the Cape Gannet.|
Earlier in the day Robert and I went for a walk before breakfast down to the Portland pier. This Masked Lapwing must think he is the missing Jonathan Livingstone Seagull.
Two koalas were spotted plus a Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo with breakfast and a small flock of Musk Lorikeets amongst the plethora of Rainbow Lorikeets.
At the gannet-fest, we heard that a Nankeen Kestrel has a favourite perch in the town itself overlooking the bay.