On the Rocks

By Illustrations by
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    • birds
    • ecology
    • natural history
    • ornithology
    • seabirds


    "Seabirds and islands, an addictive mix, have dominated my life. Ailsa Craig and its gannets started the rot more than 60 years ago leading via a tortuous route to the Bass Rock, Christmas Island, Cape Kidnappers and other remote seabird haunts. This journey was eased by a St Andrews University degree in Zoology and Oxford D Phil under Niko Tinbergen and Mike Cullen, which helped my appointment as Lecturer, later Reader, in Zoology at Aberdeen University. I have been very lucky, thanks to gannets. I should mention, also, the Scottish Seabird Centre with which I have been involved as a Director since its inception."

    Bryan Nelson, who died in 2015 aged 83, pursued a distinguished academic career but also had a passion for communicating with a general audience. At Aberdeen he continued his pioneering work on gannets, especially on their methods of communication, of which he was an adept and entertaining mimic. He was one of the first zoologists to use modern photographic techniques such as fast film to capture bird behaviour, notably gannets diving into the sea at phenomenal speeds.

    This fascinating memoir is a collaboration with his friend the artist John Busby.

    Table of Contents

    1- The Bass Rock
    2 - Castaways
    3 - Hood Island; Sea-lions, Goonies and Others
    4 - The Guano Islands of Peru
    5 - Back to the Bass
    6 - Between Islands
    7 - Jungles, Seabirds and Christmas Island
    8 - Azraq, Desert Oasis
    9 - Nose to the Grindstone
    10 - Aldabra Atoll
    11 - Te Matu A Mani Cape Kidnappers
    12 - Life at Kidnappers
    13 - Lessons from Captives
    14 - Plastic Albatrosses
    15 - Bonnie Galloway and Magical Seabird Islands
    16 - The Changing World
    17 - Beginnings

    Bibliographic Information

    • 304 pages
    • 205 photographs, 121 illustrations (mostly colour)
    • BISAC SCI070040, NAT043000