Thursday, 13 June 2013

Isle of May - day four

Tuesday 11th June 

I'm enjoying these early starts. 6am today.

In our round of the traps - nothing but a puffin, stuck in the second-top walled garden. It hadn't yet found the ramp put there to enable the escape of stranded birds. Many seabirds need height to take off, or a long run-up when on water. There are neither of these in a small walled garden.

So, I got to hold puffin once Keith had ringed it. They're extremely muscly and powerful little birds and quite viciously snap at your hand with those colourful wedge beaks. Their claws are razor-sharp and will shred your skin if you don't hold them tightly enough. You get a puffin airborne again by throwing it upwards as high as you can!
Our puffin is now ring number EX32874. Wing length 151mm. Weight 315g. Ringed at 7am.

Puffin: "WHO does he think he is? Just WHAT does he think he's doing??"

The art:

A day of being pleased with my results. I started overlooking Pilgrim's Haven; pebble-boulder bay, seabird cliffs, tall slit cave, bright blue shadows. A pillar box watercolour with no pencil underdrawing.

Lots of hours at Altarstanes harbour on the west side. I like it here. It feels secluded and is sheltered from the wind when blowing from the north. Grey seals were in the water and I sketched them briefly. I focused on razorbills - sketches and a larger watercolour. Hopefully you can zoom in on the sketch to read what I wrote.

Interesting things:

- Cup of tea and half hour of chat in Low Light with Mike Harris; scientist, world puffin expert. About birds, islands, lighthouses.

Look closely in the sky - nearly all of those black specks are puffins!

Thrift, lichen, lighthouse family's washroom (now home to a swallow nest), Main Light Behind

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