18 june 2010

Shearwater burrow, Skomer

Perhaps the most poetic, quasi-human, yet other life of all is lived by the Manx Shearwater, which 'comes in to land at breeding places at night, with weird cooing cries and wails, and shuffles to tunnels from which sepulchral voices coo "kuk-kuk-hoo-coo"'. With a little rearrangement this is pure Tennyson:

in breeding haunts at night
And weird in tunnels, cooing cries and wails
Sepulchral husky voices coo 'hoo coo'
Under long glories of the winter moon.

- Paul Jennings, Birds That Never Wert (quoting The Observer's Book of Birds)