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Thursday, July 16, 2009

A multitude of Maalies

The Maalie (Fulmar) belongs to a world-wide order of birds, the Procelariiformes ("tubenoses") that includes also the albatrosses, shearwaters and petrels. They are characterised by their oceanic life and anatomically by a tubular structure on top of the bill. The structure is thought to be involved with the excretion of surplus salt in the diet.

Once quite a rare bird in Britain, the last century has seen a population explosion which is thought to be associates with the discarding of offal (fish guts) at sea from fishing boats. With changing fishing practices, there is evidence that the species has reached its peak and may be in decline.
In Shetland, the Fulmar (Maalie is the local Shetland name) is one of the most familiar seabirds and nests almost anywhere around the coast where it can launch into empty space. As a seabird, they are rather clumsy on land, but are masters of flight in the air. Here are some snaps I took of Maalies on the nest and in the air whilst in Shetland. Enjoy.

Sky Watch Friday

Maalie selects images from his albums of travel pictures for Skywatch

Click here for a complete list
of all the participants
of this week's Sky Watch!


Blogger koala said...

Those shots are impressive. I saved one young bird like this when I was in UK.

8:40 pm  
Blogger Dagrun said...

Excellent shots! Real good close-ups.

8:51 pm  
Blogger Aussie Nikki in USA said...

Wonderful shots!!

Please stop by My Skywatch

8:53 pm  
Blogger Tara R. said...

Fantastic actions shots. Beautiful!

8:56 pm  
Blogger Jane said...

Beautiful shots of the Fulmar and thanks for sharing their history too-have a great weekend:)

8:58 pm  
Blogger This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Jim: Very nice birds in flight in the blue sky.

8:58 pm  
Anonymous Eric(SWF Holland) said...

Yess, this is it, some action pictures of birds flying the sky, Realy nice post!!!!

Have a nice SWF

Greatings from NL

9:22 pm  
Blogger Sunshine said...

What an amazing shot.. Maalie you really have a good shots. so cute...


10:01 pm  
Blogger Itajeff @Something To Share said...

Absolutely wonderful skies
Happy skywatching

11:02 pm  
Blogger Karen said...

Very cool captures...

That bird in the second photo looks so curious as to what you are doing :-)

11:03 pm  
Blogger J Bar said...

Good captures.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

11:13 pm  
Blogger LV said...

Wonderful bird shots. I would have had a hard time doing that, but yours are great.

11:34 pm  
Blogger Greyscale Territory said...

Dramatic shots! And the shape of that bird's beak is quite intriguing!

11:47 pm  
Blogger simon said...

hey mate- did you take the photos whilst perched on the side of the cliff? From memory its a long way down

12:01 am  
Blogger Secret Mom Thoughts said...

Lovely closeups of the birds and what a beautiful blue sky background.

1:55 am  
Blogger indicaspecies said...

Wow, what a fascinating post. Thank you for sharing these excellent pictures.

4:24 am  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

They do look like graceful birds in the air. Sorry to hear of their decline, though I suppose they are still doing well.

11:16 am  
Blogger Ida said...

Great series! :)
The first picture here is fantastic!

Very nice photos from Shetland in the posts under here as well.
We live on the West coast of Norway.
My husband once travelled with a 27 foot leisure boat from Norway to Shetland.
A beutiful place, he says.
I hope to visit Shetland some day also.

Happy weekend! :)

11:17 am  
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

I think you must have been on a hang-glider to take some of those shots! They are very impressive.

I know maalies are your favourite bird and they are lovely, but robins are prettier!

12:57 pm  
Blogger Shammickite said...

I love these shots of the fulmar. Such elegance and power.
There's a great poem that I learned by heart when I was a kid, in fact I can still quote it all the way through.... "Seagulls" by E.J.Pratt, a Canadian poet. Yes, I know that fulmars aren't really seagulls, but it's a wonderful description of a seabird in flight.

2:28 pm  
Blogger Arija said...

Your skiea sre beautiful, but your birds are definitely better!

2:36 pm  
Blogger EcoRover said...

Wonderful bird & story--recently had the pleasure to be downeast in the states and visit a restored Atlantic puffin area. Good to know we can save a few pieces of the world.

5:36 pm  
Anonymous erin said...

they are sweet looking...your up close and personal shots...simply perfect ^..^

7:43 pm  
Blogger Rob Ripma said...

Very impressive pictures. I would love to get close enough to some Fulmars to get such great shots!

11:09 pm  
Blogger Shrinky said...

You have managed to capture some wonderful shots, Jim. I know some regard gulls as thieving pests (and they have been known to swoop on me and mine from time to time), but I am with you, they are magnificent birds, aren't they?

11:34 am  
Blogger Tranquility said...

Great photos!
You should take a peek at another meme/site: Bird Photography Weekly ( - your bird photos would be a nice addition.

1:31 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh its really lovely bird. nice shot.


1:41 am  
Blogger Ellee Seymour said...

So now we know what you was in your former life...

12:21 pm  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

I knew you'd keep this one up a long time!

1:19 am  
Blogger Thesaurus Rex said...

There were loads of these whizzing around and nesting on the cliffs at Porthtowan on a recent w/e break.
I thought of you and your 'nom de plume' at the time. Lovely to see them and these pics are excellent.

11:37 pm  

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