Gannet Rock is a large basalt monolith remotely situated at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy, about 20km south of Cape Forchu and about 30km west of Abbott's Harbour, Middle West Pubnico. The Rock is about 500m long in a north-south orientation, and about 60m at its widest. The highest elevations are on its northern 1/3, at about 15m. There are several small algae-filled ponds on the north end of the Rock; however, there is no soil. Gannets nested here until the 1880's when the colony was abandonned due to persistent egg collecting by the local people. I notified Canadian Wildlife Services of my intentions to attempt a recolonization of Gannet Rock with Gannets. I received no objections.
March 27/94 - 7:00am. - From Abbott's Harbour, we motored to Gannet Rock in my first attempt to setup my nesting Gannet decoys. The weather had been clear and calm. At the Rock the seas were too heavy to attempt a landing. There is no such a thing as a beach on the Gannet Rock; we had to head back to Abbott's Harbour.
April 1/94 - Motored again to Gannet Rock. This time we brought along a "Zodiac" to help with the landing. The mission was accomplished and 6 fully-carved Gannet decoys plus 11 plywood cutouts were glued near the highest point of the rock. (clear silicone rubber compound was used as the glue). My crew on this historic milestone consisted of Ellis d'Entremont (carver of 1 decoy), Lester D'Eon, Kendrick d'Entremont, and my son, Nigel. Two decoys had been carved by Reginald D'Eon, and the other 3 by myself. The cutouts were made by myself and painted by Nigel and me.
April 4/94 - First reported Gannets on Lobster Bay by Jimmy Surette, a local lobster fisherman.
April 6/94 - Ellis d'Entremont, also fishing lobsters, reports a Gannet near Lower West Pubnico.
April 12/94 - Leo LeBlanc's son (from Wedgeport) reports seeing a Gannet diving in the water near Gannet Rock.
August 10/94 - I returned to Gannet Rock to retrieve the decoys. My crew consisted of Bernard Surette, Kevin D'Eon, and my son Nigel.
Some of the decoys were tipped over; most were cracked and dirty and the yellow-orange paint on the top of the head and the back of the neck was faded.
There was no direct evidence of Gannets nesting, though the rock was covered with a white-wash of bird droppings and it had the smell of a bird colony, however, we may have the beginnings of a Great Cormorant colony. Up on a ledge on the western part of the rock I surprised four cormorants which I took to be Great Cormorants. I have visited Double-crested Cormorant colonies on many occasions, and have observed them well. These appeared noticeably larger and more massive in flight, however I did not get the proper field marks to assure certainty.
On this ledge were the remnants or beginnings of several cormorant-like nests. Whether they had been used this Summer is unknown. These nests could even have been used by Gannets, but this would only be speculation. One Black Guillemot nest with one egg was found in a rock crevice.
I am not aware of Great Cormorants nesting in South-West Nova Scotia. We generally only see these birds here, in the Winter.
Whatever conclusions I have or may reach from my first year of Gannet decoys on Gannet Rock, I intend to repeat the process in 1995. Hopefully, next year I will be able to visit the island during nesting season and get a better report on the nesting situation.
I believe, at the least, we have the beginnings of a cormorant colony and if in the next couple of years this colony grows, there is a strong chance that this, along with the Gannet decoys, may entice some immature Gannets to nest here when it becomes their time. There are always a few immature Gannets in the area during the Summer.
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