Tuesday Morning Bird Photo
This is a northern gannet, a seabird, and a visitor to Virginia in the wintertime. In the summer these birds live off the coast of Canada (and I believe there are populations in France, Ireland, and Norway as well). They have a big fat deposit on those yellow heads and are great divers, plunging headlong into the ocean from a height as much as 130 feet in search of fish and squid.
The gannets are still in Virginia (at least there were plenty of them when I was at the beach last Saturday) but soon they'll head back north for the spring and summer. I love their coloring (you can't see the feet, but they are green veined with black - very dramatic).
I was happy to get this shot of a northern gannet motoring along in the surf fairly close to shore - they tend to stay farther out in the water usually. Their feathers are waterproof.
I think I love seabirds because they seem to be able to live without territory, without having to mark out a place on land. Obviously they need land for their nests, but otherwise, they are ocean-going all the time. I wonder what it would be like to live without having to mark my territory.