Excerpts from a quer old bird book belonging to my father, rooted up from the basement/bird-book-library. This one is about my favourite bird; the gannet. I first became distinctly attracted to the gannet when I was standing with my hands on the warmed concrete of the wall at the West Light bird viewpoint on Rathlin, with my back to the cliffs, looking out at the sea. There many gannets would fly past, sometimes quite close, I guess on their way between Ailsa Craig and the mainland… There are loads of puffins and guillemots and razor bills and kittiwakes which are all great but after a week out there it becomes way more exciting to see more rare visitors such as predators like big gulls, perigrines, or ravens; but the commuting gannets were my own particular favourites. Obviously, the way they dive is totally class. This is what is described in the quote below.
“The flight of the gannet is performed with bold, rapid sweeps of the wing, at a considerable altitude from the water; and when about to fish it takes several large semicircular sweeps, the wings , apparently motionless and having perceived a fish, even at an immense height above, it poises itself for an instant with a backward motion and instantly the white body glances through the air and enters the water with such immense force, that the spray, white as the bird which has disappeared, shoots up to a considerable distance: after an interval it emerges, and is in most cases successful in its aquatic foray.”