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24 July 2008

An Interesting Encounter

While taking photos of the fishing boats I noticed some oystercatchers on the shore and thought it would be good to get a photo of them. As I approached they flew off, naturally, making quite a fuss but never went far.
The fuss the birds were kicking up and the way they were acting could only mean one thing. They were nesting. Not that they build a nest. They lay straight onto the shingle. I had no idea if I would be looking for eggs or chicks but what I did know was that they are extremely well camouflaged either way. I studied the ground carefully before every step.
As I slowly made my way across the shingle,carefully checking every step incase I trod on the very thing I was looking for, my progress was being further hampered by a common gull who had apparently decided to join forces with the oyster-catchers and was dive bombing me.
Eventually I found what I had been looking for. One of the rocks looked odd and I soon realised I was looking at a chick. It sat there totally motionless. Not only could I not discern any breathing but it didn’t even move its eyes to look at me as I carefully edged around it to get a photo. I knew there wouldn’t be just one so I searched further and sure enough there was a second, hiding with its head stuffed in some drying kelp only a couple of feet away. The temptation to pick them up was immense but that would have been wrong so having taken a few shots I carefully moved away to leave them and their parents in peace. I felt totally elated as I had never come across them before. this was turning out to be a very good day.

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