My middle of June was busy. A visit to the Borders Book Festival followed by the first few days of the Melrose Festival. In all I managed four events at the first and saw a couple of the second. All my summer socialising stuffed into 5 days!
But back to the birds… oystercatchers in particuler.
One of the smaller flat roofs in the town has, for a few years now in the spring and summer, played host to a visiting pair of oystercatchers. Therefore what better than to dress up as one of the black and white birdies for the Melrose Festival fancydress parade. I have a wardrobe full of black/white/red clothes so sewing on paper feathers and a few modifications to make wings and creating a big beak was all it took. On Tuesday this big bird fluttered off down the street to join a growing crowd of children and some couples and groups of adults, all dressed up and ready to go. We were duly judged in our respective groups and set off to parade round the town following the pipe band! And very jolly we looked too. (p.s. guess who came first in her class? mind there was only one entry)
A few days after this giant oystercatcher posed in the garden a funny thing happened… the real thing appeared. Tiny and fairly helpless a chick made its way from the relative safety of the nest on a neighbouring flat roof. It seemed to have wandered over the edge and across our flat roof and dropped unscathed into our garden. Spotted in the morning running and calling to attract a parent, around the bergenia and hosta plants.
Eventually the adults found him and flew down to comfort and feed the noisy toddler. A worm was deposited in front of the wee yin and was gone the next time I looked, the parents performed the same ritual all day – not sure if another chick remains on the roof, mibbe? because they went between the two places all the time. The mother would also sit in the flowerbed and the chick would climb into her feathers. So the garden was more or less out of bounds, the birds got a bit more used to us being close as the day wore on.
Nightime was quieter and only punctuated with the chicks’ peeping call when left alone.
Unfortunately around dawn either jackdaws or crows found and attacked the little chap. I found him near a small shrub later, he had been far too small to defend himself and sadly the parents had been out the way.
On a lighter note, we have found that a blackbird is sitting on a nest (a second clutch?) of tiny babies in another corner, here’s hoping they all make it.