Shearwater (Hardback)

A Bird, an Ocean, and a Long Way Home

Roger Morgan-Grenville

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'Shearwater is sheer delight, a luminous portrait of a magical seabird which spans the watery globe' Daily Mail.

'Charming and impassioned … a rich tribute to an extraordinary bird.' Horatio Clare, author of A Single Swallow and Heavy Light.

A very personal mix of memoir and natural history from the author of Liquid Gold.

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 humour, Shearwater brings to life a truly mysterious and charismatic bird.

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.

Charming and impassioned … a rich tribute to an extraordinary bird.Horatio Clare, author of A Single Swallow and Heavy Light
A truly lovely book.Mary Colwell, author of Curlew Moon
This is wonderful: written with light and love. A tonic for these times.Stephen Rutt, author of The Seafarers: A Journey Among Birds
A delightful account of a lifelong passion for seabirds.Stephen Moss, naturalist and author of The Swallow: A Biography
A memoir lit by wry humour and vivid prose.Brian Jackman, author of Wild About Britain
This is a book that birders will enjoy because it is stitched together around a fairly amazing bird, but if you've never heard of shearwaters you will still get a lot out of this book if you are interested in nature, in adventures, in foreign parts, in landscapes or in people … a very good read.Mark Avery
A great
[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
Shearwater is sheer delight, a luminous portrait of a magical seabird which spans the watery globeDaily Mail
A captivating mix of memoir, travel and ornithological obsession … A book not just for seabirders or island-addicts, but for all who have ever gazed longingly out to sea and pondered vast possibilities and connections.BBC Wildlife magazine
[A] pleasant mixture of facts and an imagined narrative of the shearwater … readers will enjoy relaxing into the story.Library Journal
A book that delights, informs, amuses and concerns you page by pageWinchester Today

'Morgan-Grenville is a delightful writer … his writerly tone here is perfect: serious, but not hysterical or preachy, with a gleam of hope evident.'


'A beautiful mix of memoir and natural history … entirely infectious.'

Scottish Field


about this book

ISBN: 9781785787201

Price: 16.99 GBP

Pages: 304

Publication date: 08/04/2021


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