The Cory’s Shearwater. A compact and aerodynamic sea bird with greyish brown colouring and a distinctive white, dark trimmed underwing. There’s a little valley that slopes down to Tarifa town from the hills behind it and the skies above the valley are packed with them. There are many more than I’ve ever noticed before – more even than the ever present gulls it would seem. At first I imagine that they’re back in this part of the world for winter having spent summer further north. A little reading later and I realise that they are not arriving; they are gathering for departure.
The Shearwater doesn’t have a north-south migration pattern. They summer in the Mediterranean (and why wouldn’t they?) nesting in the cliffs of the sea’s many islands and in the winter they migrate to the Atlantic, fanning out in every direction – some of them as far north as the coasts of Ireland and Britain. Rotten choices for a winter getaway if you ask me but who am I to speak? This year, I’ll be following them.
For birds migration is life; life is migration. They’re rather good at it. Routes are well established and pinpoint timing is instinctive. There are no questions. You don’t hear about any dissent in the ranks; anti-migration movements or campaigns for a sedentary lifestyle for example. With the approval of the people at Nike, they just do it. They live it. More