The oyster catcher (aka a plan for life )

Amazing Nature

A few years ago I was driving home from work and noticed an oystercatcher nesting.  It was amazing because it was on the central reservation of a motorway at the junction of a busy roundabout, in full view of anyone driving past.  I soon discovered that it returned every year to the same spot.

The Perfect Photo

It became a dream of mine to get a picture of this, the incongruity appealed to my sense of wonder. I needed a telephoto lens, so I asked for advice on that, before making the investment.  Then I got up one morning to give it a go.

How hard can it be?

I parked the van close to the motorway.  A view from the roundabout would be best. I knew the perfect photo would be a close-up of the bird nesting, with big lorries rumbling past in the background. A poignant reminder of nature’s adaptability.

I walked onto the roundabout, stopping 20 yards from the kerb. My approach startled the bird.  I waited until she settled down.  I was an intruder in her space and she could tell the difference between me and the traffic. I thought articulated lorries would be scarier.  I hadn’t really used the lens much. I didn’t have a feel for the distance that it would give me.  The image was not so great.   I decided to crawl on my belly to get closer. When the bird had resettled I tried to focus the camera. All fingers and thumbs, I made a hash of it and a noise.  The bird was startled again, so I waited.

I wondered if drivers would  think I was drunk, lying face down in the grass at 10am. I hoped no one would try and rescue me. But no one stopped. The bird didn’t settle either and in the end flew off.

Mission cancelled

Worried that I might be jeopardising the nesting I decided to give up.  The oystercatcher settled on the nearest high vantage point to cheer my retreat.

Humbled, I went home.

I wondered about going back to give it another go, but decided to celebrate the learnings instead:

I had finally taken the initiative to realise a dream I had had for years, instead of pontificating. In the process I had practiced observation, patience and feedback and learnt how difficult it was. And there was always next year.

Well done!  Sounds like a perfect recipe to apply to life!  Thankyou oyster catcher :).

An, useful for the next time, here’s a great website I’ve found with advice on photographing birds

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  1. What a wonderful adventure and huge step forward on your journey – either that or your just a crazy woman lying in the middle of a roundabout on a motorway!

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