Shearwater is sheer delight, a luminous portrait of a magical seabird which spans the watery globe with a wind-borne ease our roaring aeroplanes can only dream of.
The book is also tinged with shame over human behaviour towards the natural world. Two thirds of all seabirds have vanished since 1960. The same is true of insects. ‘If you extend the population line . . . you arrive into silence about 2060.’ For seabirds, for insects . . . for everything. This is only as far forwards as Mrs Thatcher becoming PM is back. For now, perhaps the relative prospering of our Manx shearwater numbers will just have to be our consolation.