Feathered friends
Practical Boat Owner|November 2020
Feathered friends
There’s an affinity between those who go afloat and the creatures of the air
Marsali Taylor

It’s always a pleasure to watch seabirds, and you can get very close to them under sail – but it’s also saddening how the numbers have diminished over the years I’ve been sailing in our voe.

The show starts at the marina, with the tirricks, or Arctic terns, which nest in its rocky wall and come out to dive for fish. They’re such delicate-looking birds with their sickle wings and forked tail that it’s hard to believe they’ve come all the way from South Africa to enjoy our Shetland summer. There’s nothing delicate about the noise they make when annoyed – an indignant chittering or an enraged screech. There used to be a cloud of them, but now there are only half a dozen squabbling over which motorboat radar reflector to sit on.

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November 2020