Oldest British gannetry

Every summer the Bass Rock turns white as it is taken over by thousands of seabirds that have come from West Africa. Chris Packham goes with his daughter and Brian Nelson to visit the Rock. Brian knows more about Bass Rock wildlife than anyone else, since he lived there for three years in the 60s. People go to the Serengeti but this seabird spectacle is equally dramatic and on our doorstep. Bass Rock is dominated by gannets - and you can smell them. They are highly adept in their aerial abilities - they are streamlined and can fly great distances with very little effort. These birds will forage 400 miles from their base, which is much further than any other British seabird. The Victorians used to shoot them for entertainment, leaving the chicks to starve. The gannets are now flourishing. The buildings were built in the 12th century and later used as a prison. It is the oldest known gannetry in the UK. The gannets are building their nests and raising their chicks. They mate for life and each pair returns to exactly the same bit of rock year after year. Chris and his daughter take advantage of such close proximity to take some photographs. Gannets really are very attractive birds.

Release date: 01 Feb 2012

6 minutes

Credits

Role Contributor
PresenterChris Packham
PresenterJane French
ParticipantJanet Sumner
DirectorJonathan Bigwood

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