13
Oct
12

Me and a couple of friends?

There’s a promontory that juts out into the sea on the Isles of Scilly so phallic in shape it is called Penninis. As I walked down the length of Penninis late in the day last week the rain came in off the Atlantic horizontally. I had left my team drying out for dinner back at the hotel. We were away from the island the next morning and I wanted a last look at a pair of birds that had spent the last few days sat in the short turf at the end of the headland; my last Scilly ‘fix’; a short moment to myself.  A Dotterel and a Buff breasted Sandpiper had befriended one another and had spent their time on the island together; inseparable. Where one went, the other followed.

I soon found them and headed beyond and around where they were sat. I could see the dry lea side of a boulder from where I could watch them sheltered from the rain. However as I walked by them both birds ran towards me. Not wishing to flush them I crouched in the wet grass. They came closer. I sensed they wanted to use me as shelter. There was just me, the two friends and a lot of rain.

I managed to take several photographs although the light was bad; terribly bad, and the rain even worse but I wanted a record of the moment. The Dotterel came too close to focus on but retreated when he realised I perhaps wasn’t as good a rain shelter as he originally thought. The Buff breast followed. I continued my walk to the boulder some 50m distance and made myself comfortable. As I looked back I could see the Dotterel but not the Buff breast. I assumed he was crouched in the grass, too low to see him.

The rain eased a little and I decided to leave. Meeting a couple of birdwatchers who had just arrived on the island I pointed out the Dotterel but despite a careful search we could not find his accompanying friend. I guess I gave it about 15 minutes or so before deciding to leave them to search the rest of the headland themselves. I was thanked for helping with the search and I made my way back for a very enticing warm shower. I had only walked some 30m or so before I saw the Buff breasted Sandpiper sitting comfortably under a bench sheltering from the elements.

I should have known he wouldn’t have been too far from his friend.

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