Shearwater: A Bird, an Ocean, and a Long Way Home

by JAMIE HALE • June 07, 2021

Book Reviews

Shearwater: A Bird, an Ocean, and a Long Way Home

New Arrival: Shearwater: A Bird, an Ocean, and a Long Way Home

Ten weeks into its life, a Manx shearwater chick will emerge from its burrow and fly 8,000 miles from the west coast of the British Isles to the South Atlantic. It will be unlikely to touch land again for four years.

Part memoir, part homage to wilderness, Shearwater traces the author's 50-year obsession with one of nature's supreme travellers. In the finest tradition of nature writing, Roger Morgan-Grenville, author of Liquid Gold - described by Mary Colwell (Curlew Moon) as 'a book that ignites joy and warmth' - unpicks the science behind its incredible journey; and into the story of a year in the shearwater's life, he threads the inspirational influence of his Hebridean grandmother who instilled in him a love of wild places and wild animals.

Full of lightly-worn knowledge, acute human observation and self-deprecating humor, Shearwater brings to life a truly mysterious and charismatic bird.

'[A] lovely blend of natural history and memoir ... Morgan-Grenville beautifully blends science, memories, and wonder in this striking homage to an amazing bird.' -Booklist

'A delightful account of a lifelong passion for seabirds.' -Stephen Moss, naturalist and author of The Swallow: A Biography

Roger Morgan-Grenville was a soldier in the Royal Green Jackets from 1978-86, serving all over the world. In 1984-85, he led the first expedition that successfully retraced Sir Ernest Shackleton's escape across the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia. After leaving the British army, he worked in, and then ran, a small family company importing and selling kitchenware. In 2007-08, he helped to set up the charity Help for Heroes, and in 2020 he was a founding member of the conservation charity, Curlew Action. He jointly set up a roving cricket team in 1986 (The Winchester Hunters) and lives in West Sussex. This is his fifth book. His previous title, Liquid Gold: Bees and the Pursuit of Midlife Honey, is also published by Icon.

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