12 comments on “Birding for Whales – The Australasian Gannet

  1. Hello Ash,
    I am finally starting to catch up on my favorite blogs and I’m very glad I started with this most recent update! Firstly, we are overjoyed to see your book doing so well, and that you are also in collaboration with a wonderful artist. We do hope the event was a blessing for everyone involved 🙂

    We can completely understand the disappointment when our avian or ocean friends do not appear at “our” timing, but I am very happy you and your wife were wife were blessed with some wonderful bird viewing and the friendly magpie.

    I will start to slowly catch up on your older articles, and look forward to writing a more detailed update soon. Wishing you, Mrs. H and all your dear family a blessed Sunday evening and week ahead.

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    • Thanks Takami, so glad to hear from you, and thanks for your kind comments, we had a very wonderful and successful weekend meeting many people and selling and signing many books. It is a lovely country town with very friendly people. Many heard me being interviewed on radio and came. The shop owners were most delighted at the response to the day. We arrived home yesterday to escape the long weekend holiday traffic which we just saw on the news is at standstill coming into the city. I do hope and pray you are both doing well, despite your many challenges.

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  2. Very nice captures, Ashley, I especially love the slideshow of the gannet diving! I love the gannets’ beak and face coloring. I’ve seen/captured our Northern Gannet. We have two pipits, I’ve seen neither. 🙂 Yes, you did have a ‘whale’ of a day without seeing one!

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    • Thanks Donna, yes the Pipit can be a difficult one to spot. I see most of them on the rocky ocean platforms, though I have seen them on the top of mountains inland also. The way they stop and move quickly is a way they do not draw attention to themselves. As birders are usually not looking for them and they blend really well into surroundings.

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  3. Shame you didn’t get to see any whales, but watching the gannets would have been a treat. I remember seeing them when I was a teenager on family holiday at Jervis Bay, I used to watch them with binoculas diving for fish. It is a lovely story about the woman and her maggies, she is known as The Magpie Whisperer and is popular on social media with her videos of magpie antics in her yard. There is also a movie called Penguin Bloom, a true story of a woman who had a tragic accident and how a magpie helped the family through some terrible times, it is a really good movie.

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    • Thanks Sue, yes the ‘Magpie Whisperer’ story is amazing, especially how they are attracted to her, it is like they were sent, and can feel her pain and want to console her. We saw Penguin Bloom after many of our friends told us to watch it. It is always wonderful how animals and birds bring healing to people suffering loss and trauma. Pet therapy has become quite a successful medicine now, Enjoy your weekend and stay warm through this icy antarctic blast, it must be freezing down there at present.

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  4. I see that you keep yourself busy all through the year, you are the man of all seasons. Great pictures and spectacular birds, as always! Thanks, Ashley. 🙂

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    • Thanks HJ, yes our birds are always active, but this year, due to the fires, smoke, drought and floods of previous years, many birds have either been incinerated, displaced or just not breeding so numbers have been very low and birds very quiet of late. The locals are still around and visit my bird baths like clockwork daily, usually singing to me either before or after their drink and wash. They allow me to get close as they learn that I am their friend and provide for them, and I have learnt how to not spook them as I walk past. I am all for having wild birds as cageless pets, just as you do when you feed your locals.

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  5. What a wonderful outing, and sightings of many lovely birds! I’ve only seen one Gannet in the wild. It wasn’t supposed to be in the San Francisco bay, but there it was hanging out in the Farallones Islands with the other sea birds! I was thrilled to see it even though I was on a ship birding and couldn’t get very close to the island as it’s only by special permission to get on the islands.

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    • Thanks Brenda, it is always a thrill to see a bird, especially a lifer turn up unexpectedly and our of its usual expected habitat. I always thrill at sighting Gannets, as they are usually much further south much of the year, but their nesting islands would be very cold at the moment. I love that we also see juveniles from time to time. I find it remarkable how fast they dive, but the Terns dive much faster I think. Enjoy the rest of your week 🙂

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  6. Thanks Cindy, I was pleased the light was in my favour when I captured these images as they were a fair way out to sea. It is good we all get to see them cruising the coastline. Enjoy the rest of your week.

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