An island for the birds © Richard Shucksmith/Minden Pictures
Those white specks scattered around the surface of the Bass Rock are northern gannets—seabirds that spend their springtime breeding and nesting season on the islands and shores of the North Atlantic. At the height of the birds’ nesting season, roughly 150,000 gannets arrive on the Bass to rear their chicks, making this location the largest gannet colony on Earth. There are no human inhabitants on the Bass—the lighthouse is automated. The tiny volcanic plug island is just over a mile off the coast of the Lothian region of eastern Scotland in the Firth of Forth.