They didn’t think about how the baby coots would get back on to the boat once they’d fallen off.
We even built a ramp, but they probably didn’t understand what it was.
SO now, first baby was born on Saturday and was very active on Sunday when we fished him out of the water back to his mother’s wings. But hasn’t been seen since.
Trauma. Pat says he expects they’ll all die. This is not the summer I had planned. Animal death abounds.
We must save the coots! Train them to use that damned ramp! Educate the brutes!
I’m catching up slightly here because a lot has happened in the past five weeks and we’ve only just created this outlet.
So, basically, about six weeks ago we woke up one morning to find a single egg poised on the back of the boat where there is a small ledge.
We laughed at the vain attempt by some canal inhabitant to pick this particular spot as its choice nesting ground.
When we returned home that day we saw that the egg remained in the same place only now a piece of rope (ours) had moved closer to the egg and alongside it had been placed a single leaf and short skinny twig. Ah-ha! We thought. The birds are setting up camp.
Six weeks later and the hopeless egg/leaf/rope/twig set-up has transformed into an uber-nest made of the finest canal ingedients (more twigs, weeds, plastic bags and coconut hair). Proud owners of this fine habitation are mr and mr coot and THIRTEEN new eggs. Not including the first one.
Should be a lively summer.
I was sitting at my desk tapping on my laptop keyboard. It was a sunny afternoon and there was a light breeze. I thought: ‘how nice to be working on the boat’. Then I heard some pitter-pattering and a dull clack from outside. I carried on working. ‘It’s probably just a friendly badger or somesuch out on a stroll’. The wooden wind chimes jauntily jangling. ‘Ah! boat life’ I sighed.
Some time later out of the corner of my eye I spied light movement to the right of the boat (port side actually- but I was facing back to front). Very quickly I registered a black and white pattern, something new to the pontoon.
It was then that a strange sensation came over me. A slow realisation. Back-tracking I remembered the clacking sound and an earlier memory of a rat-trap assembly on the side of the boat. Peanut butter bait. And then I risked a quick peek back to the unknown pattern that had caught my eye.
Yikes. A gruesome dawning. A badger- a skunk- something colourful, big, lumpy. Not a rat. No no no. Definitely not a rat.
I crept silently along the inside wall of the boat, a chance peek here and there. A long thin feather. Shiney royal blue striped white. Feathers. A tropical bird! GOOD LORD NO!
And there it was: the magpie. Face down in the peanut butter, broken neck, wings akimbo.
I couldn’t leave the boat, what if it was still alive? How would I rescue such a creature? Could I resuscitate on such a small form?
So I waited til Pat came home. Stupid greedy magpie.