Petrels and albatrosses

This is a very exciting time of year to be a giant petrel. Their favourite food is dead seal, so all of the detritus of the seal breeding season, the ones that didn’t make it, lie around on the beach making an enormous carrion feast. All over the bay you can see the giant petrels sticking their heads into seal carcasses, wriggling them around a bit and then coming out again with a tasty morsel. It’s all part of the big cycle of life and death that plays out daily on our front doorstep!

Here are a couple of geep photos for the stronger-stomached amongst you. The first one is trying its luck with a piece of intestine. I watched this bird for ages, and it started off by tying itself in knots (literally) before eventually developing a clever little jumping-up-and-down dance that was very effective in breaking off pieces of the tasty meal.

For the fainter of heart, here are some less gruesome photos. Firstly, a geep in flight, looking far more elegant and at-ease than they do while waddling about on the ground.

But for true elegance, you can’t beat a black-browed albatross in flight.

And slightly less elegant, but very cute, is this wandering albatross chick who is still waiting for his down to turn into proper flight feathers, so that he can leave Bird Island behind and head out into the open ocean.

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