In recent days, gannet observations almost overshadow those of whales, at least as far as I’m concerned! They number in the thousands, and are especially numerous southeast of the Batture aux Alouettes, offshore from the villages of Tadoussac and Baie-Sainte-Catherine.

Here are some field notes on these wonderful birds and a few photos that I felt like sharing.

On August 17, before our bewildered eyes, a “cloud” of gannets glides with the wind blowing from the southwest. I count almost 2000 individuals! Suddenly, hundreds of gannets “drop out” of the flock, fold their wings and dive at breakneck speed toward the water. Without a doubt, large schools of fish must be moving in the area, close to the surface. The birds attack repeatedly as they partake in this veritable smorgasbord. Also in pursuit of these fish are hundreds of kittiwakes, double-crested cormorants and herring and great black-backed gulls. What excitement! Not to mention several groups of gray seals and a handful of minke whales.

What a joy to see these gannets flying high in the air and hovering between two large waves. They have become masters of the skies in our area for a few days.

Field Notes - 18/8/2015

Renaud Pintiaux

GREMM research assistant from 2003 to 2009 and from 2012 to 2014, Renaud Pintiaux is a passionate observer and photographer. Year round, whether from shore or on the water, he takes every opportunity to observe marine mammals and birds in the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park.

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