Red for southward journey, yellow for northward, one satellite-tracked individual
Stand at the front of the lighthouse fence on the cliff.
If you look down, you can see turtles surfacing over the coral reef.
If you look outwards you are gazing at Sumatra – with a good pair of binoculars on a clear day, you can actually see it. In between you and the island, is the sea – the Straits of Malacca.
And there, if you look carefully, you might see the first bird of the day arrive.
He comes in low, flapping. He’s tired – he’s not actually built for flapping, but at sea he can’t get a thermal to lift him up. He gets closer and closer – then you see another behind him, and another, and another and another – long lines of them, several lines. All heading towards you. Panting. Then the first one hits the warm air close to the land. He starts to circle. He stops flapping. He tilts his head, and you see his eye looking at you – and disregarding what he sees. You are not important, not in this instant of time.
He rises over your head, effortlessly now. And is gone.
And you are left breathless with the beauty of it, with the timelessness, the danger, the instinctive drive of the greatest journey on earth: migration.
A couple of days back, March 11th, the count team at Tanjung Tuan (Port Dickson) recorded 4101 raptors, mainly Oriental Honey-Buzzards, on their way back from Indonesia.