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1000s of Cape Gannets dive-bombing in Qora, Deep Transkei

15 May 2024 Sardine Report 1000s of Cape Gannets in Qora

1000s of Cape Gannets dive-bombing in Qora, Deep Transkei

1000s of Cape Gannets dive-bombing in Qora, Deep Transkei: the iconic and beautifully choreographed gannet population descends on the sardine run first. Every time. These are our main indicators. That along with the cetaceans, sharks, fish and other marine mega-fauna, make up all the predators that are chasing after the sardines each year.

When all these guys come together, you are guaranteed a front-row seat at The Greatest Shoal on Earth.

CLICK HERE for the Sardine Run 2024 Sightings Map Page.

Enjoy the report and thank you Kevin in Qora, deep Transkei…

More about Gannets

Cape gannets (Morus capensis) possess several remarkable features that set them apart:

  1. Colonial Nesting: These seabirds breed in large colonies, often on remote islands or rocky cliffs. Their communal nesting behaviour is a spectacle to behold.
  2. Distinct Appearance: Cape gannets have striking plumage, with snowy white bodies, black wingtips, and a golden-yellow crown. Their eyes are surrounded by a distinctive blue ring.
  3. Precise Diving Skills: When hunting for sardines, they perform spectacular plunges from great heights, folding their wings and torpedoing into the water. Their streamlined bodies and keen eyesight aid in precise targeting.
  4. Monogamous Pairs: Cape gannets form monogamous pairs during the breeding season. They engage in elaborate courtship displays, reinforcing their bond through synchronized head movements and calls.
  5. Diet: Their diet consists of small fish, especially sardines and anchovies. They rely on the annual sardine run off the South African coast for abundant food.
  6. Conservation Concerns: Unfortunately, Cape gannets face threats such as overfishing, pollution, and habitat disturbance. Conservation efforts are crucial to protect these magnificent birds.

In summary, Cape gannets combine elegance, precision, and ecological significance, making them a celebrated and vital part of South Africa’s marine ecosystem.

Cape gannets are attentive parents, and their chick-rearing process involves several key steps:

  1. Nesting Sites: Cape gannets breed in large colonies on rocky cliffs or remote islands. They choose nesting sites carefully to avoid predators and ensure proximity to food-rich waters.
  2. Courtship and Pair Bonding: During the breeding season, male and female gannets engage in courtship displays. They perform synchronized head movements and calls to strengthen their pair bond.
  3. Egg Laying: After courtship, the female lays a single egg. Both parents take turns incubating the egg, which typically lasts around 44 days.
  4. Incubation Shifts: The parents alternate incubation duties. While one incubates, the other forages for food. Their precise shifts ensure constant warmth for the developing chick.
  5. Hatching and Chick Care: Once the egg hatches, the chick emerges. It is initially covered in soft down feathers. The parents feed the chick regurgitated fish, providing essential nutrients.
  6. Growth and Development: Over the next few weeks, the chick grows rapidly. It develops waterproof feathers and gains strength. The parents continue to feed it until it becomes independent.
  7. Fledging: Around 90 days after hatching, the chick is ready to fledge. It takes its first flight, leaving the nest. The parents continue to provide food during this transition.
  8. Post-Fledging Period: After fledging, young gannets spend several years at sea, honing their fishing skills. Eventually, they return to the colony to breed, continuing the cycle.

In summary, Cape gannets exhibit dedicated parenting, ensuring the survival and success of their chicks in the challenging marine environment. ?? : https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds/c/cape-gannet/ https://www.sardinerunpe.co.za/

Affiliated YouTube Channels

https://youtube.com/@waterwoes – complain here

https://youtube.com/@thesardinenews – neva miss out

https://youtube.com/@mydotackletalk – highly technical sport fishing

https://youtube.com/@Brucifire – entertaining surf reporting

https://youtube.com/@surflaunchingsouthernafrica – getting out there safely

Affiliated websites

https://umzimkulu.co.za – self-catering right on the Umzimkulu River
https://umzimkuluadrenalin.co.za – sardine run coming up
https://thesardine.co.za – never miss a single sardine
https://masterwatermen.co.za – news from deep down
https://brucifire.co.za – surf and conditions reporting
https://fishbazaruto.com – your dreams are out there