Gusts of the wildest wind scorch across acres of exposed sand, whipping it up into tiny, stinging tornadoes, garnished by the skimming salt of the sea. Offshore, a slate-grey curtain of rain merges with the squalling ocean, surging right to left before veering shoreward. Out there near the blurred horizon, a distant ant-line of tiny, flickering shapes appears and disappears over the spray-strewn rollers. A wavy, desperate formation of oncoming birds gradually resolves from the storm. Flying perilously low over the water, they are obscured by a violently crashing breaker, before miraculously cresting the next towering swell. There is something profoundly heroic about this dark squadron of cormorants, stoically returning to land after a day of foraging. A day spent exposed to the warring sea. Just before they make landfall, a searchlight of sun probes through the scudding clouds, and smudges a watery rainbow across the sky; a fitting tribute to their safe return.
Text from my article in the July/August 2018 edition of “African Birdlife” on the birds of De Mond Nature Reserve, Western Cape, South Africa.