Skip to Content

Gannet, Cape

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa
User avatar
Guinea Pig
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1782
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 12:52 pm
Location: My business...

Gannet, Cape

Unread postby Guinea Pig » Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:34 am

(Would the mods please move this to the correct one if there is a topic for this bird? Thanks!)

A bit of fisherman's lore about the Gannet told to me by my uncle who's been on the oceans for 43 years. First as crew member on his father's fishing boats, then skipper and currently the owner of a fleet operating from Port Elizabeth.

The Gannet is their guide on the oceans. It's white feathers is the most brilliantly white of any ocean faring bird, so it's easily spotted from very far away. When the fishermen have a quiet boring day at sea they would watch these birds gliding along quietly instead of watching the sonar on the boats. It has a habit of suddenly halting in mid-flight, like it had a fright. The boat would than be steered in that direction as it is almost 99.9% sure there will be a school of fish there.
On a quest to visit 9 new National Parks in October. :dance:

User avatar
Batmad
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 2729
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2008 7:05 pm
Location: Looking for Bats...

Unread postby Batmad » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:36 pm

do you by chance have a pic of this bird?
Avid birder, wildlife enthusiast and photographer with a special interest in Bats and Birds

2014 Birding Big Year- A 365 Day quest for 800 Species of Southern African Birds

User avatar
Guinea Pig
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1782
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 12:52 pm
Location: My business...

Unread postby Guinea Pig » Thu Jun 12, 2008 10:18 am

No I haven't got a pic, sorry. I checked old photographs now as well :?

The ones in Blue Horizon Bay were drifting out at sea, the white line my cam caught, can be anything :lol: The same people we stayed with now used to live in St Helena Bay for many many years. There I saw them in Langebaan, St Helena itself (We were allowed to go out on the fishing boats if weather permitted and the birds used to "follow" the lobster boats) and of course in Lambert's Bay on Bird Island, still I think one of the only places they nest reguularly?

Hoping someone from the West Coast can help out with a pic? Please? :wink:
On a quest to visit 9 new National Parks in October. :dance:

User avatar
DuQues
Honorary Virtual Ranger
Honorary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 17941
Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2005 5:42 pm
Location: Red sand, why do I keep thinking of red sand?

Unread postby DuQues » Mon Jun 23, 2008 8:45 am

Seeing there are no photos in this topic (yet) maybe someone may want to go on a boattrip to Bird Island in Algoa Bay, home to the largest breeding colony of Cape gannets in the world?
Arriving currently: The photos from our trip! Overhere! :yaya:

Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c

User avatar
Jakkalsbessie
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 530
Joined: Thu May 26, 2005 12:00 pm
Location: At work longing for the outdoors!

Unread postby Jakkalsbessie » Mon Jun 23, 2008 4:47 pm

Image
Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. Your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are.
Please help save Mapungubwe NP - Facebook page

User avatar
MarkWildDog
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 862
Joined: Fri Dec 30, 2005 10:33 am

Unread postby MarkWildDog » Fri Aug 01, 2008 4:12 pm

Cape Gannet
Morus capensis

Description
In flight these birds have black and white feathers and black pointed tail, primaries and secondaries. The dark bill is also a pointer. The bill is generally heavy, long, pointed and pale gray. While their crown and nape is a golden or straw-yellow colour. They range from 84 to 94cm. Gannet pairs breed for several seasons, with august and september being the most popular months. The eggs are a single blueish egg, which gets burried not long after laying in the soil. Both parents are involved in incubation which is usually 42 to 46 days. These birds use their foot webs, which are richly irrigated with blood vessels to incubate. They are extremely powerful fliers, usually doing a flap-glide method. They can also plunge-dive from incredible heights. The breed in extremely dense and large colonies preferably on flat island areas. There call is a 'warra-warra-warra'.

Habitat
These birds occur along the whole coastline of south africa. However, are much more common on the west coast. Coastal areas and islands being their favourite breeding areas.

Females & Juveniles
Females and males are alike. While juveniles are dark or mottled brown and are completely black in flight. Juvenile Cape Gannets could be confused with the Brown Booby. However, the Brown Booby is smaller, with a visible brown bib and white underparts.

User avatar
DuQues
Honorary Virtual Ranger
Honorary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 17941
Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2005 5:42 pm
Location: Red sand, why do I keep thinking of red sand?

Re: Bird Island Cape Gannet Colony

Unread postby DuQues » Wed Jul 08, 2009 10:56 pm

One day....

I always wonder how those birds find their mates back in the crowd? I have trouble finding anyone in a crowd of 50+ people... :wall:

Eh, hide, be there in the morning, okay!
What lens length is advised? It's a bit hard to see if you used a 700-200 or the 500?
Arriving currently: The photos from our trip! Overhere! :yaya:

Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c

User avatar
madach
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 771
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2005 9:55 pm

Re: Bird Island Cape Gannet Colony

Unread postby madach » Thu Jul 09, 2009 7:55 am

DuQues wrote:What lens length is advised? It's a bit hard to see if you used a 700-200 or the 500?

I used my 500 f/4 for 70% of the shots and my 300 f/2.8 for the remaining 30%. All photos were made using a tripod and gimbal head.

These images are surprisingly easy to get once you understand the birds behaviour. The birds go out to sea to get food and return to the island to feed their chicks. What they do is they circle the island until they get a chance to land.

The trick in getting good results is to set your camera to AI-Focus ro continuous focus and start tracking a bird while it is far out over the sea. You then keep tracking the bird until it is close enough and then shoot a burst of pictures on the highest frame rate that your camera offers. The birds fly in a very predictable way without any unexpected changes of direction so tracking them is easy enough. To get the close-ups that I got you need at least a 300mm lens, but I'm sure that you can also get good results using a 70-200mm lens.

You can find more pictures from the two days I spent on the island here.

User avatar
Johan van Rensburg
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Award: Birder of the Year (2014)
Posts: 2621
Awards: Birder of the Year (2014) & Sighting of the Year - Birds (2013)
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:33 pm
Location: Jam Street

Re: Gannet, Cape

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:50 am

Same place...

Image

With so many birds in one spot it can become nasty!

Image

This gannet must have been in every bird's poop sight... Gotta be wide awake, fella! Your otherwise handsome exterior can turn quite crusty...
671 Latest lifer: Black coucal


Return to “Birding in Southern Africa”