An egg on the edge

I’ve abandoned the car and I’m exploring some of the abandoned buildings of Westray.

This building has what must be a piece of shipwreck as a lintel:

Ruin - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

And this one has a Raven’s nest above the massive fireplace, with its small nooks. There’s the usual mixture of natural materials and beach debris, such as fishing rope, in the nest construction. This house must have been very cosy in its day:

Ruin - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Past the ruins, I’m walking on bare rock looking out to sea. There’s a Great Northern Diver out there and I’ve just seen a Red-Breasted Merganzer. I look down and there’s a huge nest next to me.

Great Black Backed Gull nest - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

It has a solitary egg, pale greenish, with speckles. It’s an untidy nest made out of plant stems, many of which are fine and look like dried grass. Unusually there’s no plastic or rope in its construction.

My first thought is that it’s a duck egg or a goose egg, given that colour, but then sense reigns supreme and I realise it must be a Great Black Backed Gull egg and nest. With an egg that size, the female can only lay one a day and so she will wait until there’s a full clutch of three eggs before starting to incubate them. I scuttle off, way of getting a slap on the head from an irate Great Black Backed Gull. They’re not a species you’d want to annoy.

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