Gannets over Grassholm
Published: Thursday 21st Nov 2013
Written by: The Wales Cottage Holidays Team
Wales Holidays visitors to Pembrokeshire cottages may be familiar with the island nature reserve of Grassholm. You can’t land here but exciting round-island sea safaris are possible from the village of Dale on the mainland.
Grassholm has recently been under the study of scientists from The University of Exeter and the RSPB. Researchers have captured incredible footage of what it’s like to fly with the UK’s largest seabird, the gannet. Miniature cameras have been attached to some of the gannets that nest on Grassholm – with amazing results. Birds fly high above the stunning Pembrokeshire coastline while ships pass below. They land in the bustling colony, skim low over the water and plunge spectacularly into the sea at incredible speed during a feeding dive.
The tiny island of Grassholm is home to the fourth largest northern gannet colony in the world, with just under 40,000 pairs breeding there. But they’re difficult to study because they spend most of their at sea, away from nesting sites. By attaching a camera, scientists can study their behaviour away from the colony, using GPS to track flight patterns and measure the length of time they’re flying and feeding. The information accrued can answer scientific and conservation questions and may contribute to the designation of marine conservation zones in Wales. The long-term aim of the research is to help provide a sustainable future for gannets and other marine life. Wales has a great range of cottages in Pembrokeshire and cottages by the sea in other areas of Wales.