At night from Mikurajima Island, you can see hundreds of shooting stars...no shooting shearwaters. Streaked Shearwaters come back to the island, where they breed, after dark and they fly above the island underneath the real stars.
A few hours before dawn, we set off to see the shearwaters taking off for the day's feeding. It seemed that they were everywhere on the island. Some were even sitting on the road in the village.
We knew we were getting closer to their colony area because the forest was full of their calls and wing flapping sounds and occasional thump! They were very clumsy on land and quite often fell on the road.
After feeding their incubating partners or chicks in the nest hole or switching the parent duty, they take off from the island before the daybreak.
With their long and narrow wings, they can not start flying easily from the land. So they were trying to gain some height to jump off and pick the air. With the webbed feet and beak and a bit of wing flapping, they really can climb steep slopes and trees!
They seemed to be just flying blindly to the sky and the sea, which look slightly lighter than where trees grow. Quite often they were caught by branches and struggling to get out from there. Many of them were also trotting down the steep road, using it as a runway. I wonder what they were doing before people built the road.
After five o'clock, I suddenly realised that the sky was getting lighter and the forest became quiet and empty. There was no sign of the clumsy birds any more. They were all gone to the sea.
Morning had come.