"Seaweed hats are all the rage this season!" (Photo courtesy of Nature's Home reader, Mark Sweeney)

From leopard and cheetah to snake print, nature patterns have rippled throughout fashion trends for quite some time. In the words of Alexander McQueen - “there is no better designer than nature.” At one of the largest colonies in the UK, Nature’s Home reader Mark Sweeney captured some of our seabirds experimenting with the season’s hottest headwear – one trend we’re sorry to say that might not be seen at London Fashion Week anytime soon. It turns out Gannets are leading the runway, ready to steal Kate Moss’ crown, quite literally.

Already a distinctive seabird, adult gannets are recognisable with striking white and yellowish plumage, black wingtips and bright blue rings around their eyes. Long necks and long, pointed bills help them hunt, as they soar above waters and then dive into the sea in the pursuit of fish. To help them with this, their nostrils are instead positioned inside their mouths, and eyes are forward facing for binocular vision that allows the birds to judge distances with accuracy. Air sacs in their faces and chest act as a form of bubble wrapping to reduce the impact when diving from height into the waters below.

If you fancy heading out to look for these charismatic seabirds, gannets can be spotted offshore almost anywhere in the country. They are particularly noticeable on their migration south in the summer months, mostly between August and September. The birds breed in large numbers in only a few areas and as such they are amber listed with 220,000 nests UK-wide. To see the largest mainland colony of breeding birds, you can head to the RSPB's Bempton Cliffs on the Yorkshire coastline. Another considerable colony can be seen on a visit to Troup Head, Scotland where there are also here are also thousands of other seabirds such as kittiwakes, guillemots and razorbills, as well as puffins. If you’re in luck you might also notice porpoises, minke whales and dolphins.

Aside from these mainland sites, gannets also nest on several island colonies such as St Kilda, the Northern Isles, Grassholm in Wales and Bass Rock in Scotland - where our photo of the week was snapped. While this trend probably won’t carry through to A/W 2019, it’s one hell of a wild look.

Got some quirky, cool or beautiful photos you want to share with us? Then send them to us at natureshome@rspb.org.uk

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