In Iceland when we are searching for orcas, we look for northern gannets diving as so very often the orcas are underneath the gannets. The whales help to push herring closer to the surface for the gannets to plunge dive on. These are the largest seabirds found in the North Atlantic.
In South Africa a massive group of diving cape gannets led us to an incredible feeding-frenzy of common dolphins feeding on sardines, a famous sight during the amazing sardine run off the South Africa coast.
These large, beautiful seabirds, with their yellow head (in adults) and bright blue eyes are incredible to watch feeding. They plunge dive from high above the water, becoming an arrow shape just before entering the water. Gannets can swim down after diving, allowing them to catch fish deeper than other plunge-diving birds. They are specially adapted for this feeding technique. Gannets do not have nostrils on their beak and instead have them in their mouth. They have air-sacks in their face and chest, helping to cushion their organs when they dive and their eyes are further forward than other birds, allowing them to judge their dive accurately.
Photographing plunge-diving gannets is a wonderful photography challenge as they travel up to 100km/h and when we see huge groups feeding with whales, my lens is often turned upwards, trying to get great gannet shots, distracting me from the whales underneath.