Evening entertainment Part 2 – The return of the muttonbirds

955-IMG_2808gAs if beautiful sunsets and green flashes are not exciting enough, next in the evening line up comes the amazing spectacle of the muttonbirds returning home from their day at sea fishing.

Every day, the adult muttonbirds leave the island before dawn to go to sea to find food.

Muttonbirds against the moon

Muttonbirds against the moon

They do not return to the island until about half an hour after sunset, just as the last light of day is disappearing.  At first, in the twilight, you catch sight of one or two dark shapes flying very quickly but quietly towards the island. Soon the sky is filled with darting black flecks, like a swarm of mosquitoes stretching from horizon to horizon. How do they manage to avoid mid-air collisions flying  so quickly??

The peace of the calm sunset suddenly gives way to a cacophony of squawking and swooshing as the birds swarm in and somehow locate their nests in the dark.  Once the birds are on the ground there is a great din, probably a “discussion” of who gets what for dinner.


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