Displaying items by tag: birds

Thursday, 18 July 2024 01:19

Fulmar Flypast, Fulmaris glacialis in Flight

I have written about the fascinating fulmar before on Panoramic Ireland, here. The seabird is not native to Ireland nor Scotland, where I photographed this one.

Originally confined to a few islands in the Atlantic, off Iceland and Saint Kilda - a remote Scottish island the birds have now spread across Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England. Scotland is still home to 97% of the British population.

Young fulmars spend five years fully at sea, coming back to land to choose a colony after that but even then they won't breed for another few years. They can live for over forty years.

In this image you can see the tube-nose from which the tubenose family get their name, the birds possess a gland which helps to process, store then eject saline through the tube - salty water collected when diving for fish in the north Atlantic.

Fulmar comes from Norse, it means foul gull and relates to the stinking stomach oil that the bird regurgitates in order to deter threats. It matts the feathers of other birds and it covers other animals (humans too) with the stinky non-soluble fluid that can destroy clothes.

You've been warned - keep your distance! Enjoy these majestic fliers from afar.

Published in Guide
Tuesday, 31 May 2022 22:08

Guillemots Gathered in their Masses

A recent visit to the coast brought me to a seabird sanctuary where I photographed many types of wild birds including puffins, razorbills, fulmars and guillemots.

This image, and the others below, made me think of the famous Black Sabbath song War Pigs with its lyrics changed to "Guillemots gathered in their masses, just like witches at black masses..."

Guillemots breed on land between May and September in Ireland, laying eggs directly on to rock - no grassy ledge or built nest.

Recent weeks have seen me photographing nightlife rather than wildlife at many concerts in Dublin and Belfast, including Whitesnake, Queen and Bryan Adams.

Don't forget that Panoramic Ireland's photo tours are running every day, in Dublin and around the coast. Join me to photograph seabirds, landscapes and streetscapes.

Guillemots Gathered in their Masses
Guillemots Gathered in their Masses
Published in Photo Tours

The fulmar Fulmarus glacialis is not a native bird to Ireland, although it is now resident here all year round having first been recorded on the island in 1911.

It is similar in size to a seagull but is a member of the tubenose family or procellariids, more commonly known as petrels.

It spends much time gliding, as it was when I photographed it here, using little energy to ascend and descend then flying low over the surface of the ocean - a common trait of petrels. Indeed the fulmar is related to albatrosses.

Each year the fulmar will return to the same ledge on the same cliff and will often mate for life. It lives for over 40 years and is a pelagic feeder of any type of fish.

The upper feathers are grey with brown feathers often visible, though most guides fail to mention these they are very evident in the image above. Undersides are white and the fulmar has a distinctive blue portion of the nose.

The fulmar is one of Ireland's fascinating seabirds, fantastic when seen in flight.

Published in Guide
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