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Gannets dive for fish in Shetland, Photographer Richard Shucksmith

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Gannets dive for fish in Shetland, Photographer Richard Shucksmith

  1. 1. Photographer Richard Shucksmith Gannets dive for fish in Shetland
  2. 2. Stunning photographs of gannets diving for fish off the coast of Shetland Isles Hundreds of gannets plunge into the sea as they attempt to spear a fish off the coast of the Shetland Isles. The seabirds lived up to their gluttonous name as they tore fish from their rivals' beaks during the scramble for food. The photos were taken by photographer and ecologist Richard Shucksmith who lives on the Shetland Isles.
  3. 3. The agile birds swarmed over the murky blue sea as they hunted for mackerel and herring - before resting on the cliffs to feed their young.Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  4. 4. Richard had to hang off the edge of steep cliffs to capture the colonies from above. Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  5. 5. ...And he had to ignore the birds diving dangerously close to his head as he took images while underwater. Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  6. 6. The birds gather on the cliff every year in the summer to nest and breed Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  7. 7. The photographer and ecologist said: "The scene was both exciting and phenomenal, watching them dive, hearing them hitting the water and being immersed in a sea of bubbles.Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  8. 8. Hundreds of gannets rest on a cliff above the sea Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  9. 9. Two gannets gesture at each other with open beaks Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  10. 10. "Hundreds of gannets were circling the boat looking for the fish we were throwing over the side. Suddenly a single bird plunge dives the others see it as an indicator and 20, 30, 40 birds are diving. Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  11. 11. "The dive itself only allows the bird to reach depths of a few metres, but they can swim very well underwater using both wings and feet for propulsion - this allows them to pursue fish down to around 30 metres. Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  12. 12. Three gannets fight for a fish Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  13. 13. "The two dive types are described as V-shaped - lasting only a few seconds - and U-shaped dives where the bird swims using its wings and may be submerged for around 20 seconds. The U-shaped dive is about 50 per cent more successful at catching prey than the V- shaped dive.“ Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  14. 14. "Gannet swallow their fish under the water so they can eat more fish on that dive, to stop other gannets stealing their food and to avoid having their lunch stolen by skuas or gulls on the surface.“ Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  15. 15. Richard, who has taken photos of the gannets every summer for the last three years, was the overall winner of British Wildlife Photography Awards in 2011 and has won subsequent honors in the competition. Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  16. 16. Leaving the water Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  17. 17. An individual rises to the surface with its catch Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  18. 18. A gannet is capable of hitting the water at speeds of up to 60mph and will leave a telling trail of bubbles behind it . Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  19. 19. Nesting gannets (Morus bassanus) and swirling seas Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  20. 20. Hermaness Shetland, mid summer night. Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  21. 21. Gannet and its tiny chick Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  22. 22. Gannets (Morus bassanus) on the cliffs of Noss. Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  23. 23. Gann ets (Morus bassanus) on the cliffs of Noss. Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  24. 24. Gannets greeting each other Hermaness Shetland. Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  25. 25. Gannets (Morus bassanus) in flight. Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  26. 26. Great Skua chasing Gannets to make the Gannet regurgitate. Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  27. 27. Space is at a premium, conflict with the neighbour. Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  28. 28. Fighting for space. Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  29. 29. Gannets (Morus bassanus)preening on the cliffs of Noss. Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  30. 30. Gannets greeting each other Hermaness Shetland. Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  31. 31. Gannets (Morus bassanus) flying. Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  32. 32. Gannets protecting their nest from other Gannets. Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  33. 33. Gannets (Morus bassanus) sat on sea stac at sunrise. Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  34. 34. Gannets (Morus bassanus) swirling round the cliff Hermaness, Shetland Isles. Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  35. 35. Gannets (Morus bassanus) Hermaness, Shetland Isles. Picture: Richard Shucksmith
  36. 36. Gannets (Morus bassanus) Hermaness, Shetland Isles. Picture: Richard Shucksmith
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  38. 38. cast Gannets dive for fish in Shetland, Photographer Richard Shucksmith images and text credit www. www.ecologicalphotography.co.uk photos.uk.msn.com www.discoverwildlife.com www.telegraph.co.uk www.theguardian.com Music Jean Michel Jarre created o.e. thanks for watching

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