Nature's big picture: Gannet's wildflower 'necklace'

An adolescent gannet presents a partner with a wildlfower necklace Adolescent northern gannets have been photographed "flirting" with flowers at Bempton Cliffs in Yorkshire, the only mainland colony of the birds in England. The birds are at their busiest in the summer; breeding, nesting and rearing young. Gannets pair for life and the adult birds will return to their cliff homes year after year, decorating it with plants, flowers and nearby debris. Wildlife photographer Steve Race has observed young birds offering feathers and flowers to potential partners during courtship at the RSPB reserve. But he described capturing this scene of a young male presenting his beau with a necklace-like sprig of red campion as "surreal". Reserve manager Ian Kendall said, "If the pair return next year and have a family, we'll find out whether their adolescent romancing has paid off."

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