18 Oct Gannet colony, Muriwai Beach

Source: Charlene Winfred

The gannet colony at Muriwai Beach, an hour or so outside of Auckland, was an accidental discovery. Flemming and I had headed to Muriwai on a location scouting mission. It quickly turned into a bird watching one.

There is a cliff walk on the south end of Muriwai, where we observed several groups of brightly clad tourists appearing and disappearing from the entire time we were on Muriwai. Never ones to dismiss paths of little resistance, we nosed our way there too. It promised a view of cliffs and sea. We never dismiss those either.

Muriwai Beach, Auckland, NZ

Thoughts of views disappear around the bend in the path, approaching the crest though. The cacophony of birdcall, and the sight of dozens of them in the air is breathtaking. Having no idea what I was about to come to, I thought at first it was a feeding frenzy. Then rounding a bend, this was what greeted me:

I’ve never seen a gannet in real life before, only pictures of them arrow diving, wings folded back, into the sea. And here was a whole province of gannetes, either minding nests or wheeling around in the air, along with seagulls and a small, grey swallow-like bird.

And the noise! The cawing and rawking that overpowered even the roar of the ocean as it waged war on the cliffs!

Colony “outpost”

Hundreds and hundreds of birds perched calmly on evenly spaced nests along the slopes of the cliffs.

Gannet colony, Muriwai Beach posted on Charlene Winfred on .

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