Of Bass Rock, David Attenborough, Armadillos and Self-congratulations  

Posted by Wayne Bretski in ,

In my "What We've Been Reading" post I forgot about a book that I started the next day, from the Tempe Library. It's called "Altruistic Armadillos, Zenlike Zebras", and it's by a fellow named Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson. It's really engaging, looking at 100 different animals, writing a few pages about each, and injecting personal feelings into usually dry subject matter.

In the section on gannets, I found out that Bass Rock near North Berwick, Scotland is considered by no less a nature expert than David Attenborough to be one of the twelve wildlife wonders of the world. Check out the Bass Rock wikipedia page for more information. Here are my photos of Bass Rock, taken mostly from North Berwick golf course.

This one's from town, with the dyke in front protecting the road during high tide.

Gannet flying:

The seabird center in town. Inside there is a bunch of CCTVs broadcasting from Bass Rock, so anyone can watch the estimated 150,000 gannets, cormorants, eider duck, gulls, and other seabirds that congregate on the rock.

Bass Rock, although volcanic in origin which could theoretically explain the coloring, is actually colored white on top due to the large volume of bird droppings, which release a staggering amount of ammonia into the air and sea over and around Bass Rock, which is about a mile away from the mainland.

Sorry for the sideways photo. This is my dad hitting his first shot on the par 3 ninth hole. According to our caddie Doogie, the ship in the background is a passenger ferry, and would be heading for Continental Europe, probably Bruges in Belgium.

Here's one of those damn gannets, barking like crazy on the road dyke. They're quite loud.

Finally, the rock from further up the beach near the hotel where we stayed. This would be a point north and west of the golf course, closer to the landmass known as Craigleith.

Here's a link to the Scottish seabird center in North Berwick (pronounced Berr-ick).


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