Card no 442 - GB
Country Card Sent From: New Zealand
Place that Card Sender Lives: Napier
Date Received: 12th March 2013
Distance Travelled: 11,493 miles
Time Taken: 4 days
Gannets are beautiful seabirds comprising the genus Morus, in the family Sulidae, closely related to boobies. The gannets are large black and white birds with yellow heads; long, pointed wings; and long bills. Northern gannets are the largest seabirds in the North Atlantic, with a wingspan of up to 2 metres. The other two species occur in the temperate seas around southern Africa, southern Australia and New Zealand. Gannets hunt fish by diving from a height into the sea and pursuing their prey underwater. Gan-nets have a number of adaptations which enable them to do this. Gannets can dive from a height of 30 metres, achieving speeds of 100 km/h as they strike the water, enabling them to catch fish much deeper than most airborne birds.
It is appropriate that GB sent me a gannet card since he knows how much I enjoy watching them dive in the bay outside his Hebridean home. (Well they would hardly dive inside his home! You'd need a big fishtank and a high ceiling. A very big fish tank and a very high ceiling!)
The gannet's supposed capacity for eating large quantities of fish has led to "gannet" becoming a disapproving description of somebody who eats excessively, similar to "glutton".