9 GANNET COLONIES
Our islands are home to some 68% of the global breeding population of Gannets, equating to 220,000 pairs. Here are some of the country’s key Gannet colonies.
1. BASS ROCK, FIRTH OF FORTH The Rock is the place after which the Gannet got its scientific name, Morus bassanus, and has recently become the largest Gannet colony in the world, with more than 75,000 pairs.
2. SAINT KILDA, OUTER HEBRIDES The St Kilda archipelago’s colonies hold more than 60,000 pairs of Gannets.
3. SULA SGEIR This uninhabited island 64km north of Lewis, has about 5,000 Gannet pairs. ‘Sula’ is from the Old Norse word for Gannet.
4. HERMANESS, UNST, SHETLAND Hermaness NNR includes a colony of 40,000 pairs of Gannet, mostly on the island of Muckle Flugga.
5. NOSS, SHETLAND Noss hosts some 22,000 pairs of Gannets.
6. AILSA CRAIG, AYRSHIRE Ailsa Craig is famous for producing the granite from which curling stones are made and for having a massive colony of some 36,000 pairs of Gannets.
7. GRASSHOLM, PEMBROKESHIRE The remote offshore island of Grassholm has 36,000 pairs of Gannets.
8. BEMPTON CLIFFS, EAST YORKSHIRE Not the largest Gannet colony (11, 000 pairs), but this is the only mainland Gannet colony in England.
9. TROUP HEAD, ABERDEENSHIRE Along with Bempton Cliffs, East Yorkshire, this is one of only two mainland Gannet colonies in the UK.