Tuesday, 21 June 2011
Although I am not really a fan of the colour orange I could not resist my orange collection and even a feather to match. I found a lovely black and rusty orange oak leaf to add to my bag of treasures and enjoyed using these bright colours on a rainy day. I used yellow and red for the orange, sepia and white. It is painted with acrylic inks and then I decided to just stipple a little with a sepia ink pen.
I had a lovely walk on the shore yesterday,and crossed over the tidal river to walk along the other side of the bank. We saw a pair of Oyster catchers who flew around very excited making loud noises and did not want us there. I wanted to go to where all the ducks congregate, the large flock which we have been watching over the weeks. They all got up and flew as we approached, the ground was scattered with hundreds of feathers, guess what I was doing while my husband sat and watched other birds. I also found lots of Curlew feathers, the brown and white striped ones, different sizes and shapes. Just along the shore we saw a pair fly up from the ground. I found it hard to believe these two large birds would nest here but the expert insisted they do. It was just by luck that we decided to go across the grass and find a broken egg shell, a hatched curlew egg. There isn't much of it, the pointed end and enough to estimate and indicate the size of this large egg.
The reason we went this way was because we saw a duck, a beautiful brown speckled duck with an unusual beak sitting in the long grass. It pretended it had not seen us, it kept very still and was so well camouflaged, sitting on a nest. We quietly altered our path, as luck had it to find the Curlew egg shell. We now know it was a Eider duck, we read "she is a devoted mother seldom leaving her eggs and sometimes going without food for three to four weeks", quote from The Observers' Book of Birds. It was a beautiful sight, and one that has in the past provided us with "eider down", her nesting feathers .....to stuff our quilts... Eiderdowns. A piece of social history too for you.
Hope you enjoy my week 24. Thank you for your comments and welcome to my new followers.
Posted by MILLY at Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Sunday, 12 June 2011
As I was drawing the egg in pencil I tried to record the patterns and shapes accurately. I think the book explained it beautifully as specks, spots, streaks, blotches and scribbles. My painted egg shell also shows the colour with a greenish tinge so we are fairly certain it is the egg of an Oyster catcher. Then I selected five of the striped feathers also collected from the shore last weekend. I used my acrylic inks and a sable brush again. It is a nice collection and makes a lovely page for week 23.
Today is wet and grey, with the wind whistling through the house. The tide has been up and as it is such a wet afternoon I am glad to be sat by the fire, yes a fire in June! There is little or no view as the low mist hangs over the shore. I just added the finishing touches to my feathers and photographed the page.
It made me think about all the birds here in the estuary, each one starting their life as an egg. It is hard to believe how this egg survived in a nest on the ground, with dangers of other birds, dogs, sheep, humans and the weather. Of course the sea eventually washed this egg and left it in the tide line where it was found. We hope it had hatched and survived.
In the past we have stumbled upon a nest, usually in a slight hollow in the ground and there we would be delighted to see three or four eggs. This is when you realise how those specks, spots, and blotches are so important as camouflage, the eggs just disappear into the background with such clever colouring. When we were younger, we found many more than we do today. Despite the dangers, young chicks must survive as we have a healthy population here.
As the sun was shining, I did my walk on Friday evening and saw many different birds, bird calls filled the air. I collected a handful of feathers, black and white ones from the Oyster catchers and lots of different duck feathers, the striped Curlew feathers and long grey ones with black tips belonging to the gulls.
The feathers are evidence of the many birds which live and visit here. Again I find it fascinating to think of how the birds fly with the aid of their feathers. Each feather specially shaped to be part of the intricately shaped wing, each one beautifully coloured to make up patterns on the birds. So when I find them I marvel at nature, so clever, so perfect how it designs.
Hope you like my little design for week 23.
Thank you for the lovely comments, I love to read them and appreciate you spending the time writing them. So if you are visiting let me know. Millyx
ps. I have just opened an Etsy shop, I intend to put some little originals for sale soon.
Posted by MILLY at Sunday, June 12, 2011
Sunday, 5 June 2011
Today we went for our walk about five o'clock. Sadly the sunshine has gone and we have returned to a cold breezy day again. We had to wrap up against the chilly north east wind. The shore was empty and we walked along the edge of the tidal river watching all the birds. It was a high tide about one o'clock and now the birds were feeding in the water. There was a huge group of ducks, I counted to fifty so estimated there was about a hundred. Large Heron gulls, black headed gulls and Oyster catchers were all searching for food at the waters edge. Then the magnificent sight as the Heron flew over and landed in the water.
I searched along the sandy banks to see what the tide had left in the tangles of seaweed and grass. More crabs, whelks egg cases, feathers, oak leaves, different coloured sea weeds and bits of branches and leaves. The jelly fish are now thin round plastic looking discs moulded to the grass, dried out with the hot days. The grass has grown and the pink thrift is taller with out the sheep to eat it. Suddenly my husband discovered the find of the day, a beautiful spotted birds egg, an empty shell washed up by the sea. A lovely subject for my week 23 page, so look out for it.
We walked our usual route and talked about the high tide expected next Saturday, what might it bring for my next page, something interesting I hope. The two swallows followed us, darting in front of us at high speed but no sign of the swan today. As it started spitting, the rain made circles on the water and so we headed for home. It was because of the rain I nearly smashed my precious find, I had placed the egg in my hood to keep it safe, and forgetting about it being there I started to pulled it up! It did arrive home safely ready to draw. I hope the chick which hatched from it is also safe, as we think it is the egg of an oyster catcher.
Hope you like the pages. As always, thank you for your comments, it is lovely to read them. So if you have time I would love to hear from you. Millyx.
Posted by MILLY at Sunday, June 05, 2011