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  • Writer's pictureSim Elliott

Fulmars - Observation 21 (13/08/2021)


Weather: Temp: 17 C; moderate breeze; cloudy

From Rottingdean to Saltdean

4 Fulmars in flight

From Rottingdean to Ovingdean

1 singleton Fulmar perched on cliff

1 Fulmar in flight; This Fulmar in may be one of this year’s fledged juveniles; but I am not at all sure The fresh and even plumage (see photo below ) suggest that. This bird seemed to be flying past various nesting crevices, perhaps not sure where he/she had come from - he/she flew past crevices and then flew about 500m out to sea, and back again, over and over again.

Video of this bird in flight can be see here:

In the literature on Fulmar breeding this should be the time when the chicks are fledgling, and are taking to the wing, ready to leave in September. I did not see any chicks on previous observations; but most of the nest sites, in which there were adult birds, were high up on the cliffs, so it would have been very difficult to see into the crevices to see if there were eggs then chicks.

One of the Fulmars flying between Rottingdean and Saltdean

Fulmars form part of the Procellariidae family, along with petrels and shearwaters; this family is part of Procellariiformes order of seabirds, that includes albatrosses. Procellariiformes were formerly called Tubinares (tubenoses). And this photo really shows why. Fulmars have a salt gland above the nasal passage that helps desalinate their bodies, as they drink seawater. Fulmars excretes a strong saline solution from their "nose"; that is what is dribbling from its bill!



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