Fay over at The Wind & The Wellies has been having some problems with these little chaps lately. Not these exact ones, obviously, as these are Hebridean Oystercatchers and hers, naturally, are Orcadian Oystercatchers, but with some of their cousins, who keep (along with the Lapwings and Curlews) waking her up earlier than she wants to be awake in the mornings. I can sympathise - when we arrive in the Hebrides it always takes us a few days to get used to the incredible range of bird calls at both dawn and dusk - Snipe, at nightfall, make a sound so spooky it makes the hairs in the back of your neck stand up!
It was up in the Hebrides where we first gained a real appreciation of the sheer number of different species of birds it's possible to see in one fairly small location in the UK. Over our last few years trips we've seen birds ranging in size from the tiny (Wren) to the gigantic (White Tailed Sea Eagle) and from the rare (Iceland Gull) to the common (Starling) - the thing they have in common is that they are all stunningly beautiful in one way or another. Under that fantastic clear Hebridean light even your common or garden Starling has an extra iridescence. Oystercatchers, by the way, have been described as looking like 'a Magpie carrying a carrot' - you can see why, can't you!
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