On dry days myself and the duggie dugs can be found wandering the shoreline at Ferryden and, if the bold Nancy decides that after her daily zoom a longer wander is in order, some days we take the longer route to Scurdie Ness and Elephant Rock.
Sea birds line the route we take – from the ever patient heron who can sit for hour upon hour waiting for the right meal to surface from the depths, to the screaming gull who these days is as happy feasting on a summer treat snatched from a child’s hand as it is fishing the seas – holding a mirror up to the impact our fast food culture is having on the planet.
If the beaches are empty I’ll let the duggie dugs off lead. The sand is where the Gracie gets her courage back. A descendent of the desert dog, Gracie’s webbed feet and giant pads enable her to glide across the sand picking up speed as she goes ‘til she becomes the wind. There is no point in calling her to heel when she is in pursuit of some imagined desert hare or gazelle so myself and the bold Nancy sit, heron like, until she returns.
Some days, if we are still enough, we find ourselves sharing the rocks with a lone cormorant. Observing her as she returns catchless to dry her wings before her next dive into the depths, I’m minded of our dear leader. Here she stands, wings outstretched, scanning the shores of mainland Europe in the hope that she will be thrown a catch good enough to satisfy the appetite of friend and foe alike. None so far has sufficed, indeed these days she is looking more and more like one of those ‘tame’ cormorants used by some far eastern fisherfolk for catching fish. A snare is tied around the bird’s throat to stop it swallowing the bigger fish it catches, so to save itself from death the bird must return to shore regurgitating what could not be swallowed to the awaiting fishermen.