Countdown to WCWW8; 5 days to go

With five days to go to Wader Conservation World Watch, we have decided to countdown with five fantastic artworks from five amazing artists.

We start today by celebrating the beauty and brutality that is encapsulated in the bird we call the Ruff Calidris pugnax (formerly Philomachus pugnax) named after the frills around the males neck and head in the breeding season. This glorious artwork is by Martina Nacházelová.

Martina writes: This artwork was inspired by my trip to Siberia in 2013. As a biology student, I participated in a research of nesting waders in the bogs at Zabaikalsky National Park. We spent a month each day wading, mapping and searching for wader nests in the bog, usually with inflatable boats tied to us in case we would plunge into the bog by stepping on the wrong spot, which happened regularly.

The place we were mapping was a wetland between the shore of Baikal and Lake Arangatuy. There were bears, incredible amounts of mosquitos and dragonflies everywhere. And waders, too, of course. I remember one beautiful foggy morning in the bogs with birds always showing up close to us when they emerged from the white. Later in the morning the fog started lifting and we saw a few Ruffs, a bit in the distant, seemingly fighting. I imagined this place would make for a nice arena for the males‘ leks, although we did not witness that.

Upon our return I was still very inspired by the wonderful landscapes and used my photos as reference to draw it to great detail. The Ruffs were something I think suited the unusual atmosphere I was able to feel there very much.

Later I also used this artwork in my bachelor thesis about how melanin affects birds behaviour, which Ruffs are a prime example of – adopting different mating strategies based on the color of a male’s head and neck feathers.