Friday, 21 March 2008

Where the gannets weren't

Had I consulted my bird books first, I probably wouldn't have driven out to Point Danger to photograph gannets. But then I would have missed the opportunity to sit in the morning sunshine in total solitude and watch the waves roll in from the Southern Ocean. (And, of course, I need encouragement to do that.)

Gannets swooped and soared around Lawrence Rocks and skimmed the water off capes Nelson and Bridgewater. But they weren't at Point Danger. They had been in November but now the chicks had fledged and everyone was out at sea.

In the absence of anything to guard, the maremmas loafed in the sun. I loafed a bit too. It was that sort of day.

Point Danger and its gannet colony are part of a 500 ha reserve that surrounds Alcoa's aluminium smelter, the "smelter in the park". The land is owned and maintained by the company. The coastal heathland supports all the usual plant and animal suspects, including a good population of rare rufous bristlebirds. Not that I saw any. But I think you probably guessed that. Next time it's gannets and bristlebirds, for sure.

The view from the Great South West Way as it crosses the reserve.
Cape Nelson (top) and the smelter (bottom).

Lots of gannets on Lawrence Rocks

No gannets at Point Danger

Maremmas looking for something to guard

A long way off Cape Bridgewater


Sherrie said...

This reminds me of email I just received from friends currently in India. They hiked to a place they were assured had great views... except that it was covered in clouds when they arrived. R's comment? "We don't see a lot of really cool things."

Snail said...

In Sean Dooley's book The Big Twitch, he talks about getting together with a cinematographer to make a movie showing bare branches where the rare birds were only seconds before.

At least Point Danger is only 5 mins out of Portland, so it wasn't a great slog. And I had a chat with the pooches.