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Fulmar flying around East Cliff; West Bay, Dorset; 23 April 2015.

Looking very much like a seagull, this is in fact a true seabird that spends most of its life out on the open seas and only comes ashore to breed – the reason why this individual was around the cliffs at West Bay.  It can at once be told from a gull by the little kink and ridge on the top of its bill that houses nasal passages, something that gulls don’t have.

Living out on the open seas as they do, and eating things like squid, fish and shrimps, these birds are up to their ears in salt – some of which they manage to get rid of by excreting it as a strong saline solution through their noses.  And, should one of these beauties feel that you’re approaching it too closely on a cliff, they will vomit their foul smelling stomach oils over you –  to give you a gentle hint …

And finally here’s a fascinating passage from Wikipedia: “Fulmars have for centuries been exploited for food. The engraver Thomas Bewick wrote in 1804 that “Pennant, speaking of those [birds] which breed on, or inhabit,   the Isle of St Kilda, says—’No bird is of so much use to the islanders as this: the Fulmar supplies them with oil for their lamps, down for their beds, a delicacy for their tables, a balm for their wounds, and a medicine for their distempers.  …..  James Fisher, author of The Fulmar (1952) calculated that every person on St Kilda consumed over 100 fulmars each year; the meat was their staple food, and they caught around 12,000 birds annually.”.  But no, before you ask, I’ve never tasted one!  And I recommend that St Kilda link – if only for the sounds of the sea! –  I’ve never been there, but it was a constant and brooding presence, far off to the west, when I was on the Western Isles some years back.

There is another Fulmar image, and more context, here.

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor used at 300mm in DX format to provide 450mm; 400 ISO.

About Adrian Lewis
Photographer working in monochrome, colour and combinations of the two - with a great liking for all sorts of images, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous in my photography, trying new ideas and working in many genres. And I'm fond of Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.

16 Responses to BIRDS 72 – FULMAR

  1. bluebrightly says:

    A fulmar – cool! I’ve never seen one. I think this bird belongs to a group called tubenoses, and you can actually see that here.


  2. Meanderer says:

    Love the way the sun is illuminating his lower body!


  3. kaytechworld says:

    Reblogged this on kaytech.


  4. paula graham says:

    Good shot of this glider, I do like the light coming up to him from something below. What a wingspan.


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Elyas, I’m glad you like the picture – thank you! And I see from your blog that your ambition is to be a geologist – well I used to be one. I was always interested in geology as a boy and found my first fossil – a Carboniferous brachiopod – when I was aged 5 or so – and I went on to be a geologist doing research on ophiolites, and then teaching in a university.

      I very much hope that you achieve your ambition. I don’t know if geology is taught in your school but, whether it is or not, a good thing for you to be doing now is to be going out and seeing as many rocks, fossils and minerals as possible. Learning about them from books etc is fine, but actually seeing them for yourself is the thing; and see collections in museums too. Adrian


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