Masters of the Wind
Except for when they nest, they spend their entire life at sea. When the kids fledge, it is literally their first flight and it’s straight out to sea. A pelagic species, the Northern Gannet has a six-foot wingspan and three-foot body length built to do one thing extremely well, fly!
On the Newfoundland Coast, you will find the St Mary’s Ecological Reserve, the home of 40,000 Northern Gannets during the nesting season (30k adults and 10k new kids). It’s a gathering of nature I heard about decades ago and just now was fortunate to see and photograph. It’s an experience I will never, ever forget and will always treasure!
The Gannets nest on the ledges of the sea stack. They mate for life and when they leave the sea stack after nesting, they don’t see their mate until the following spring. There is just enough room at each nest for an adult. So the other adult after it’s delivered the kid’s food just flies around the sea stack. They might do that for hours. And they do it effortlessly!!!
Their life is at sea and they fly with the grace of nature, what a challenge to bring to a single click! There was a spot when they flew their circuit around the sea stack they would briefly light up from bounced light. By standing at the right place, I could take advantage of that bounced light, the sparkling Atlantic in the background when they had their wings set in a glide. Shooting with the D5 / 180-400VR I just watched them make their circuit and when I saw one in the right spot, I shot. For me, the photos sum up my experience I had waited decades to live.