Gavin Greig (ggreig) wrote,
Gavin Greig

Office Oystercatchers

It's that time of year again, and the office oystercatchers have returned. For the last three or four years, a pair have been coming to raise their offspring in our car park. They seem to think that the gravel verge outside the meeting room at the back of the building, a good mile or so from the tidal River Tay, is a good stand-in for a stony beach. They are not popular with the car dealership that operates in the other half of the building, as they tend to depreciate the cars a bit - clawmarks, and other hazards of having birds around - but we like them.

Apparently there are three eggs this year, though I haven't seen them for myself. The birds have figured out that they're fairly safe if you're behind a window, so it was possible to take a reasonable shot of one on the nest even with my cheap camera.

If you're outside and get too close, oystercatchers are one of those breeds of birds that feign injury and run around to try to draw you away from the nest. The eggs are pretty well camouflaged against the gravel when this occurs. It seems to be a fairly successful defence mechanism.

We never see much of the chicks when they hatch. For a day or two, there are small brown fluffy editions of the parents, running around peeting and lurking in the gravel trying to look like oystercatcher eggs. Then they are gone, both parents and brood, for another year.

Still, they seem to do their job. We did have an infestation of mice recently, but in the six years we've been here, we've yet to suffer the depradations of a horde of ravening oysters.
Tags: dundee, natural history, work

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