Saturday, 4 June 2011
This spring I've been working out of doors on a small island near to home. I was sitting in a borrowed Landrover, out of the wind, painting a nesting Lapwing. The birds are used to the vehicle, which made a perfect, movable hide. Despite my luxuriously appointed accommodation, my back was starting to ache and my feet to grow cold, so I decided to pack up and head for breakfast. As I put away my paints, I checked the shallow pool behind me and saw that a flock of Black-tailed Godwits had arrived. It's a cure I'd recommend to anyone - my aches and pains vanished. I can't remember seeing these waders before - and I'm sure I wouldn't have forgotten, as they are so spectacular. They seem both muscular and graceful, both comical and elegant with their long legs and up-turned bills.
Even more surprising, was that one of the birds was wearing colour-rings. This in itself is not unusual as these birds are the subject of a long-term project studying their migration between Africa, Ireland and Iceland (see www.scoiliosaefnaofa.com/Godwit.htm). The strangest bit was that my Mum had just been to Portugal to help monitor and put rings on birds that were passing through the wetlands there. I wonder if this bird was one of those that they saw, now refueling in Scotland before pushing north again. I've sent off details of the colour-rings, and hope to find out soon.