The painting offers an insight into the life of the sea bird colony at Heligoland. Northern Gannets, Kittiwakes and Common Guillemots are nesting every summer among the steep cliffs of the small North Sea island, located in the middle of nowhere, in the German Bight.
In the far hazy distance you can catch a vague glimpse of the Kittiwakes nesting spots. And on the upwardly emerging walls on the left, the light is gently touching the common guillemot colony. Dozens of the little birds are pressed close together, trying to use every single spot for nesting opportunity. Above their heads a riot is emerging, because the Northern Gannets are fighting for the best spots too.
The Northern Gannet is a fantastic high-speed-diver of the north Atlantic. Breeding colonies of the goose-sized seabird have been recorded as being located in the same place for hundreds of years, however the Heligoland colony is very young, established in 1991. Gannet pairs are monogamous and may remain together over several seasons, if not for all their lives. Little gifts are often displayed to the partner and it is not unusual to see them pick up little rocks or plants as courtship presents. I tried to show that intimate moment in this painting.