Fulmar (Fulmarus glaciallis) - literally translated Foul-Bird

These birds have the quite the reputation ‘Foul Bird’, which is based on it’s musky odour and it’s habit of spitting an evil smelling oil at intruders. They are often seen on the sides of cliffs or grassy coastal banks. They are very amusing to watch as they are almost ‘laughing’ at each other.

These photographs were taken on the Island of Sanday a northern Orkney Island. They were sat in the sandy dunes in pairs a long way from habited areas. We walked about a mile along the sandy beach to find this location. We used a Nikon 500mm lens with a 1.7 tele converter, this way we didn’t need to get too close to the birds. Set the camera to Manual metering and use center weighted metering taking a reading from the white part of the bird. Use a fast shutter speed of 1/1000 of a second or higher (if the light permits) We used a monopod as it was light weight to carry but gave the camera with the heavy 500mm lens some stability.

They are often found all over the North Atlantic in winter often feeding near fishing boats, the sea surface or plunge diving for crustaceans, fish and offal. They breed after 6 years nesting on narrow ledges with no nest material. One egg hatches over 50 days.