One evening on Pico I walked out among dark lava fields; a black rough undulating volcanic landscape. It was important not to disturb the Cory’s Shearwaters that make their nests among the lava caves and tunnels so I did not leave the roads and tracks. These birds are already under threat here from cultivation and encroachment of civilisation. I saw several feral cats hunting the area on my walk and no doubt there were introduced Black Rats around that would also predate on Shearwaters eggs and chicks.
I saw and heard nothing until around 10:30pm; after that all hell was let loose. It was as though someone had flicked a switch. The shearwaters, that up until then had been loafing offshore, turned up big time. The call is without doubt one of the most haunting sound uttered by any living thing. It’s quite eerie having these large birds calling and flying around in the dark. One came close enough to make me flinch.