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Oystercatchers by Rowland Crowland

Oystercatchers,
Hard by the Bay,
Steadfast,
Braced against the rain,
Legs rigid,
Wings folded,
Fixed into the wind,
Bold,
Sea-cold,
Birds of the coastal plain.
I first saw them off Fegla Fawr,
Big red beaks like I’d never seen before.
I sat and watched them from afar.
Oystercatchers, Wow!
And now they’re here on Morecambe Bay,
Unmistakeable, standing that way,
A panoply of piebald,
All facing Ireland
Through the sea spray.
Look!
For flying in a straight line
There’s got to be no match,
There’s no time to deviate
When there’s oysters to catch.
I can see them from Marine Road,
It’s the place where oystercatchers go
For cockles and mussels by the tractor load.
I’ve never seen one catch an oyster though!
But there they go,
Stepping staccato,
Red stiletto
Legs with backward knees,
Rooting, tooting,
Shooting the breeze,
Pied pipers,
Whistling like referees.
Red-eyed, intent
On serious deeds.
You can keep your peregrines!
You can keep your golden eagles!
Here’s majesty enough for me
Standing proud amongst the seagulls!
Then suddenly,
And as one,
They’re gone!
Gone home to Iceland
Until the Autumn comes.