We’re walking around the north coast of Papa Westray. It’s one of the smaller inhabited islands of the Orkney archipelago. It’s full of life.
On the rocks in the distance is a juvenile Ringed Plover. They’re known in Orkney as Sandy Laverock.
It’s so scruffy I could even call it a fledgeling, except that it probably left the nest within hours of hatching.
I’m finding the whole experience of seeing it achingly cute. Isn’t it gorgeous?
All that tiny, delicate, fresh, new life.
Then we see one of the parents.
It’s not amused.
It’s anxious and its instinctive response it to see us a predators and a significant threat. It calls.
It flies onto the grass near to us and tilts itself wildly and walks with an exaggerated gait.
It’s pretending to be badly injured with a broken wing. It walks away from us, keeping its wing well up over its back, checking every now and then where we are. I walk towards it and it flies off.
The chick has disappeared. It’s a wonderfully effective distraction ruse. I’m thrilled to have seen it acted out.