Gannet Head Closeup
An attractive bird, the adult Northern Gannet is gleaming white with black wing tips, with an orange-buff tinged head. The bill is light blue, and the eye is blue/grey, surrounded by a bright blue lid and bare, black skin. The immature birds are dark brown in their first year, gradually acquiring more white in subsequent seasons until maturity at five years
White Nodding Lily, Lilium cernuum
Reford Gardens , Grande-Metis, Gaspésie, Quebec, Canada
Tuberous Begonia, Tuberhybridia
Le Phare Poite-au-Pere, City of Rimouski, Quebec, Canada
Route 132, Gaspesie, Quebec
Gannets are allocated by instinct an 80-centimeter circle in the colony. Any encroachment into this space can set off noisy fights such as this tug-of-war. Most fights are between juveniles who, unable as yet to produce an egg, never-the-less practice nesting, generally in less desireable sites around the edges of the colony. By the time they produce an egg and hatch a chick in their fifth year, they have learned enough and have settled down sufficiently that the chicks life is seldom endangered by such squabbles.
The Northern Gannet colony at Parc national de I'Ile-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Perce at the eastern tip of the Gaspe peninsula in Quebec, Canada is the largest in North America. About 50,000 birds nest on the 300-foot high cliffs on the East side of the island and about 70,000 more on the plateau at the top of the cliffs. The colony is a spectacular sight - and sound - and smell! The island is reached by boat from the town of Perce - the trip includes closeup views of Perce Rock and of the cliffs before docking on the West side of the island. The experience of stepping out of the woods at the end of the trail across the island, right at the edge of the gannet colony, is truly unforgetable.
Lands End, Cap-Gaspe
Rose Mallow, Lavatera trimestris
Floribunda Rose, 'Alain'
Musee de sculpture #2, Musee de sculptures sur bois des Anciens Canadiens, Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, Quebec, Canada.
Musee de sculpture #3, Musee de sculptures sur bois des Anciens Canadiens, Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, Quebec, Canada.
Musee de sculpture #1, Musee de sculptures sur bois des Anciens Canadiens, Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, Quebec, Canada.
Les Graves Sentier, Parc national du Canada Forillon, Gaspesie, Quebec, Canada
Hydrangea, Hydrangeaceae paniculata, Musee de sculptures sur bois des Anciens Canadiens, Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, Quebec, Canada
Waterfall near Mont-Saint-Pierre, Gaspesie, Quebec, Canada
La Chute, Parc national du Canada Forillon, Gaspesie, Quebec, Canada
Church, Saint-Maurice-de-L'Echouerie, Gaspesie, Quebec, Canada
Along the southern shore of the St. Laurence River in Quebec, the name of almost every village starts with "Sainte." The most prominent location in each of these villages is occupied by a well-maintained church, and athough every one is unique, they have in common that the entire steeple is heavily coated in aluminum roofing paint. It must have taken a rail car load of paint...
Gallipeault Covered Bridge, Grande-Vallee, Gaspesie, Quebec, Canada
Le Phare Cap-Gaspé, Lands End, Cap-Gaspé, Parc national du Canada Forillon , Gaspesie, Quebec, Canada
Le Phare Cap-des-Rosiers, village of Cap-des-Rosiers, Gaspesie, Quebec, Canada
Rocher Percé Panorama
Ile Bonaventure and Pierced Rock National Park and Percé Town, Gaspesie, Quebec, Canada
Le Phare Cap Madeleine, village of Madeleine, Gaspesie, Quebec, Canada
Fireweed, Chamerion augustifolium
A member of the Evening Primrose family. Likes burned-over or "disturbed" soils. Taken beside the trail to the Gannett colony on I'lle-Bonaventure, Gaspésie, Quebec, Canada
Le Grande Rassemblement - "The Great Gathering" - stonework statues leading into the St. Laurence River at Centre d'Art Marcel Gagnon, Sainte-Flavie, Gaspésie, Quebec, Canada.
View From The Summit of Mont Jacques-Cartier, Parc national de la Gaspe
Smooth False Foxglove, Gerardia laevigata
Beautiful Fleabane, Erigeron formosissimus
Red Sunflower, Helianthus annuus 'pastiche'
Columbine, Aquilegia grata
Cosmos bipinnatus, 'Sonata White'
Polka Primrose, Primula viaii
Le Phare La Martre, village of La Martre, Gaspésie, Quebec, Canada
Bladder Campion, Silene vulgaris
Along Route de la Mer, Sainte-Flavie, Gaspésie, Quebec, Canada
Fossil Fish, Devonian Period, Miguasha National Park, Miguasha, Gaspésie, Quebec, Canada. This fish, 370 million years old, had both lungs and gills, and may well be one of our ancestors!
Returning gannets land at a pretty high speed, honking desperately (Incoming, Incoming!) and somehow locate their mate and drop directly into that 80-centimeter circle he/she has reserved. This sets off yet another round of honking in the neighborhood.
Young Gannet Pair
Gannets generally mate for life before they return in their third year to the colony in which they hatched. Unable to produce an egg until their fifth year, like all teenagers they never-the-less practice, practice, practice! This pair of four-year-olds is being typically cute with their affections.
The Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus) is a goose-sized member of the Booby family. It is a long-winged bird, with a five to six foot wingspan, and is about 35 to 40 inches in length. It plunges spectacularly into the sea, from heights of 60 to 90 feet, in pursuit of fish. It often uses its large feet to propel itself back out of the water and into flight, with its catch.
Gannets With Chick
Adult pairs produce a single egg each nesting season, beginning in their fifth year. They have to feed their chick for three months - longer than any other bird. The parent regurgitates partially digested fish directly down the chicks gullet like a fire hose after which the chick goes back to sleep on a parents feet until it is once again hungry. This chick is quite well developed - in other photos here you will see sleeping chicks that look like nothing more than a flattened mound of feathers!
Gannets - Lets Neck!
These birds are exhibiting typical gannet "necking" behavior. Each time a bird returns from a fishing trip, he/she renews their affection with its mate in this way, clacking together and briskly rubbing their bills and twining their necks. Ranger/Naturalists say that this apparent affection helps to control the natural aggressiveness of the birds, allowing them to stay close to each other in their little circles.
Gannet Nesting Instincts
Although gannets do not build as evident a nest as other species (the egg and the chick are held on the tops of the parent's feet) they do occasionally collect nesting materials to present to their mates upon their return to the nesting site. This bird has just pulled up (with much awkward flapping and effort) a beakful of grass. He/she then hopped off down the runway, going airborne and out to sea, and landed to wash the grass. After returning, we watched him/her walk around shaking the grass to dry it, then hop off into the colony (setting off the usual honking) to profer it to its mate.
Gannet - Neck Up
This gannet is preparing to go fishing by holding its neck straight up. This allows sacks in the neck to fill with air to stiffen it otherwise the neck would break when diving after fish from 60 to 90 feet feet up. (Judging from the dead birds floating in the hunting areas near the island, this defense does not always work!) The departing bird causes much consternation and honking when it darts through the territories of other nesting pairs to reach a take-off strip at the edge of the colony. Surprisingly, the birds appear to be agile enough to avoid stomping any chicks.
Sunset at Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, Quebec
Taken from the gardens at La Villa Marichon , Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, Quebec. If you have not yet been privledged to vacation in Gaspesie, you must plan to do so. We enjoyed a week there (click on keyword "Quebec" below to see more photos from our trip) and stayed at the lovely La Villa Marichon B&B after making the loop around the peninsula. Jocelyne and Bertrand are wonderful hosts, and they will welcome you, too!
Le Phare Pointe-a-la-Renommee, near L'Anse-a-Valleau, Gaspésie, Quebec, Canada. It was from Pointe-a-la-Renommee that Marconi broadcast the first trans-atlantic radio message.