Fulmarus glacialis

Fulmars are from the Procellariidae family, also known as ‘tubenoses’. This is a reference to the nostril-like feature above their beaks. Offshore, they glide low above the water, stiff-winged and graceful, and it’s no surprise that they are related to albatrosses. Ashore, they are perhaps less endearing; one of their characteristics is to retch foul-smelling gloop at those who approach their nests. These images show fulmars of all ages and were taken in the islands of Orkney and Shetland. Incidentally, I do have some photos of fulmars taken right here on the Isle of Purbeck, but can’t for the life of me find them right now.

Fulmars seem to like investigating sea kayaks close up, circling repeatedly with low passes beneath the stern and bow. They have lifted our spirits many times whilst out on the water and tired, nervous or simply jaded. We have joked on occasion that each paddler has a ‘personal fulmar’ who looks out for them on the seas…

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