Countdown to WCWW8; 3 days to go

This week we are counting down to Wader Conservation World Watch, with artworks from five fantastic artists.

So to our third artist now that we only have three days to go, and todays featured wader is Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus, which, like the Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata  featured yesterday, is Near Threatened. This vividly bright depiction of these flashy birds is by Julia Page who featured as our artist in the   October 2020 newsletter and whose art we sell in the form of postcards through our shop.

Julia said: We travelled to the Hebrides for many years, to Colonsay in the Inner Hebrides. This beautiful, pristine isle situated between Islay and Jura to the South East, and Mull, Col and Tiree to the North West, is one of Argyll’s gems and I enjoyed drawing the maps of its location featuring mostly natural points of interest, especially birdlife and of course the necessary Oystercatchers. Our cottage was close to the sea and on our first morning out it was of course that familiar shrill piping call that greeted us on the rocky shoreline. There’s something I have in common with Oystercatchers: however much we like sandy beaches, we prefer stony, rocky ones and Colonsay has some superb crescent sand bays but also my favourite of all, which I call the Stony Beach. This is a bay with a small amount of sand but mostly large and small stones, rocks and a whole variety of rock pools. It’s a place I could spend a whole day at, gazing into the miniature unique worlds amongst the pools and marvelling at the infinite pebble designs. There are always Oystercatchers here, probing amongst the rocks for invertebrates. The Stony Beach without oystercatchers would be unthinkable.

At the far end of the bay is a small sheltered cove with high rocks all around, almost like a cave without a ceiling. Sometimes the oystercatchers would stand guard at the entrance and their high pitched cries would resonate around the cove with a repeating echo. This amplified call inspired me to write a fiddle piece called ‘Oystercatchers’ Reel‘ and I have a distinct memory of sitting on a rock, writing down the melody into my pocket mini manuscript book as the birds sang their song