Friday, 30 May 2014

An Arran Amble - the Criminal Corvid of Whiting Bay

The stretch of water between the south end of holy Island and Kingscross Point on Arran is very scenic; the view to the Arran hills stunning.

We felt that second breakfast was in order, so a little farther along the coast we landed on the creamy sands of Whiting Bay where benches above the beach offer a comfortable stopping place.We took some kit up to the benches in our trusty IKEA bags and began to prepare second breakfast, but our peaceful stop was rudely interrupted by......

...a hardened criminal.  This Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) walked quite deliberately up to the boats and examined each one carefully as we watched from some 50 metres away.  Selecting Mike's boat as the most promising, it investigated more closely and found an unsecured hatch cover; in an instant it had the cover off and was digging through the hatch to find what might be edible within.

In the time it took Mike to get down to his boat, the Crow had located, opened and consumed most of a bag of trail mix, and, watching Mike's approach with a beady eye, took off and hovered in the breeze just as he arrived.  It then landed on the sand, walked casually to Douglas' boat and began the same appraisal process.  As soon as it was chased off one boat it would alight on another, much to the amusement of folk watching proceedings from a cottage above the beach - this particular bird clearly has "form".

It was certainly no respecter of other people's property and could potentially have done quite a bit of damage to the boats and equipment, but the intelligence and calculated behaviour really had to be admired.  There's a related species of Crow in northern Europe with a slate grey back and belly known as a Hooded Crow - this individual wasn't a Hooded Crow, it was simply a hood! 

In sheer gallus and criminal intent the "Criminal Corvid of Whiting Bay" ranks alongside the kleptomaniac Chickens resident at the car-park at Kinloch Hourn, which operate as an organised gang preying on walker's picnics and are known to my friend Dave and I as the "B*st*rd Chickens of Kinloch Hourn".  Be careful, there are criminals out there!

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