Peaceful And Tranquil Half-Submerged Shots Of Wildlife At The Antarctic
by Justin Hofman
Posts tagged underwater.
Gannet Attack - Cape gannets dive into a ball of anchovies in the ocean near Port St Johns, just off South Africa’s famed Wild Coast
Photograph: Allen D. Walker/BirdLife South Africa Oceans of Life photo competition 2013
Orca Jumping Out of Water and Under Iceberg
Mantas by Rory Moore
Amazing Dive Bombing Birds
Off the coast of South Africa, Cape Gannets spot their targets from the air and dive like a squadron of bombers to pursue their prey. A Cape Gannet can snap up a fish before it realizes it’s even being chased. Photographer Alexander Safonov is astounded as he watches these amazing birds dive 25 feet (8 meters) underwater to catch a meal from a school of sardines.
As you can see from looking at these photographs, Cape Gannets are awesome fishers. For one, they can spot their prey from almost 100 feet (30 m) up in the air. Large flocks scour the sea together – sometimes in groups of up to 1,000 – searching for shoals of fish. Then, once the birds spot their fishy meals, they plunge through the air like heavy arrows raining down. Their wings are flexed back against their bodies, and their tails and feet are pointed, making them look like Olympic high divers.
“Photographing diving cape gannets is one of the most incredible things I’ve done so far in my life,” says Safonov. “Seeing hunting birds which normally belong to the air element deep underwater is a surreal sight. Sun rays, bubble trails, scales, chaotically moving bait fish – all contributes to the dramatic spectacle orchestrated and choreographed by nature itself.”
The predatory gannets bomb the water at speeds approaching an incredible 75 miles (120 km) per hour. Luckily, they have no external nostrils for water to force its way into – because at those speeds, a whoosh of water up the nose would really sting! As mentioned earlier, these birds can reach depths of up to 25 feet (eight meters), driven only by their own momentum. Cape Gannets can then stay under the water for three to seven seconds – just long enough for them to snatch their slippery snacks in their sharp bills and gulp them down before surfacing again.