Life in Newburgh on Ythan

By Talpa


Among the Gaels the oystercatcher is an emblem of St Bride who was born in the year 450 near Dundalk. The story is told of when she was sailing to Barra and became becalmed at sea the oystercatchers of Traigh Mhor came to her help, beating their wings to fill her sails and deliver her safely to her destination. In thanks, St Bride announced that, whilst all other birds would toil to build their nests, the oystercatchers would wait till they saw the black mark left by the highest tide of the year, then lay their eggs above it to hatch in safety.

The oystercatcher bears the form of a cross on its back plumage in recognition that it once covered Christ with sea-weed when his enemies pursued him. It is called Brid-eun, 'Bride's Bird' or Bigein-Bride, 'Bride's Boy', in Gaelic.

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