• A visitor from the Atlantic

    A visitor from the Atlantic

    The little boat travels in the open sea heading for the Erikousa island above Corfu, in the northern, rough seas of the Ionian. From afar a white dot disturbs the deep blue of the sea. A bird rests on the waves, right in the season of spring migration, not quite easy to identify: too big for a gull, too small for a swan. You take pictures, check them closer and suddenly realize that it is a white, adult Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus). This beautiful seabird, that plays the leading part in dozens of Western European documentaries about sea wildlife, is an occasional but regular visitor to greek waters. With a distribution from the North Atlantic to West Africa, some individuals also visit the Western Mediterranean and few of them reach the Ionian and the Aegean. Northern Gannets have been observed several times in the past in the Ionian Sea and in the sea area around Kythera island. However, their detection is quite difficult, as it is a seabird that prefers open seas and winds, away from the coast. Usually, wandering Northern Gannets that end up in Greece are juvenile, grayish individuals following flocks of seagulls. So meeting with an adult, pure white Gannet is similar to a small lottery win.

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