I was sitting on Garrarus Beach with my notebook a couple of weeks ago doing a sketch of the rock and wondering whether to put the local Heron or the local Oystercatcher, who was mooching around, in the foreground. Though I have seen other Oystercatchers passing through there seems to be only one resident recently, his beaky head popping up from behind seaweeded rocks as he potters around.
The Heron too is always alone, both confirmed bachelors it seems though my friend Alan says the Heron most likely lives in the woods near Saleens to the east of Tramore Bay.
“He probably comes here to get away from the wife.”
“Garrarus is his ‘man shed’,” I said
Still I did wonder if maybe Garrarus is a swinging Bird Bachelor spot, a place where the chaps can relax and check out the ladies passing through.
Anyway as I sat there pen poised, suddenly, as if the bird world had heard of my need for a model, they began to audition. A flock of Choughs numbering at least fifty or sixty~despite being endangered~ rose up from the cliffs above me and proceeded to racket back and forth along the cliffs. A Kestrel came and hovered over my head and a curlew shot out towards the sea from the field behind him describing an impressive sweeping curve that brought him back to land further down the beach.
The Willy(Pied) Wagtails bobbed and shimmied with shocking and suggestive abandon while a couple of Rock Pipits fluttered and peeped from the rocks. Then the two local Ravens arrived, sleek and back gliding in low over the sand like two hoods looking to see what the fuss was and how it could be of benefit to them. To the east a Cormorant preened on the outcrop of the headland near Carraig Dubh, a star from a black and white movie waiting for the cameras to turn her way.
The Heron flummoxed by all the noise took off for a quieter rock to the west end of the beach but the Cormorants staking the rocks in the shallow bay remained still maybe because they had to get their wings dry for the audition. Over the whole scene the gulls steadily glided stiff-winged and watchful, patrolling the high blue sky.
The Oystercatcher alone seemed unmoved, beak down, nerdily engrossed as he morosely wobbled up and down over the black slick rocks maybe wondering where all the action was. Later when the Heron was grumbling about the bird party on the beach he would kick himself and wonder how he always managed to miss all the good stuff.