Still counting down to our WCWW weekend, and now with just two days to go.
As we approach the opening of our annual global wader watch we feature a bird that it is highly unlikely that anyone will see ever again, the Eskimo Curlew Numenius borealis. Probably became extinct when the last recorded individual was shot in Barbados in 1963. It is a sad testament to our excesses and destruction that we managed to make one of the world’s most abundant birds ever, extinct by shooting them in uncontrolled numbers, rendering one of their mainstay foodstuff extinct and destroying their habitat along their migration route. This depiction of an Eskimo Curlew with some American Golden Plovers Pluvialis dominica, which shared a similar migration route to the Eskimo Curlews, was painted by Szabolcs Kókay, our featured artist in the newsletter of October 2016 and whose art we sell through our shop.
Szabi wrote: I ‘borrowed; the title of this artwork ‘The Last of the Curlews’ from Fred Bodsworth’s novel, that I read many years ago.
Working as a wildlife artist for over 2 decades, I could establish a path I would like to follow by now. I feel that simply copying a photograph is a dead end, I want to produce artwork that adds something to the growing portfolio of nature photography. Depicting something that can be rarely or never photographed, interests me very much these days. An obvious choice is a species that is extinct, especially showing it in its natural habitat, or imagining a scene of its everyday life.
I did quite a few paintings of Slender-billed Curlews Numenius tenuirostris, but with this I turned to the Eskimo Curlew. I feel that these 2 species have very similar history. I read that Eskimo Curlews joined American Golden Plovers during migration, sharing the same habitats. I believe that the lonely last individuals could find some comfort in the company of these distant relatives.