6 Jul 2018

6 Jul 18 - Grassholm Gannets

The main Bird interest on the Cetacean pelagic from St David's Head was the time spent at Grassholm Island. Grassholm is one of the RSPB's oldest nature reserves & lies about eight miles off St David's Head. After about 45 minutes of a fairly fast, bouncy ride after leaving the Short-beaked Common Dolphins off Ramsey Island, we got close to Grassholm.
Grassholm: Just a small part of the Gannet colony
Gannets: The airspace above the colony was packed with Gannets
Gannet: The Gannets were densely packed
Gannet: There were a few juveniles visible within the colony
Gannet: Adults & juvenile showing the weedy nest they build. Unfortunately, I can also see orange fishing line has been used in a nest in another photo
Gannet: They are really cute close up
The rib's crew said that Grassholm used to be home for large numbers of Puffins many years ago, but loss of the soil on the island, caused the Puffins to desert Grassholm. However, the population of Gannets benefitted from this soil loss. This makes Grassholm the third most important Gannet breeding Island in the UK: Bass Rock has 75,000 pairs, St Kilda has 60,000 pairs and Grassholm has 39,000 pairs. Bonaventure Island, off the Quebec coast is another major colony with 60,000 pairs.
Gannet: We had hundreds of Gannets overhead & had been advised to put our hats on to avoid any crapping Gannets
There were a few other Seabirds around Grassholm, although it was nearly a pure Gannet colony.
Guillemots: There were a few Guillemots among the Gannets & more on breeding ledges
Kittiwake: There were a few pairs breeding on the rocky cliffs
Herring Gull: Adult
Grey Seal: There were a few inquisitive Grey Seals in the seas around Grasholm
Great Seal: Showing the long 'Roman nose' profile
A great day out at Grassholm, although we could have done with longer there.