Tuesday 18 June 2013

Isle of May - day six

Thursday 13th June

Nothing in traps.

7-9 am in secluded spot on Pilgrim's Bay, a beach of boulder stones; smoothly rounded and large but not large enough to be comfy to sit on. My folded padded mat helped a little. I'd been given permission to be off the path down on the shore because there were no puffin burrows in the slope down. I had to be out by 9am when the remote cameras (controlled by vistors to the Scottish Seabird Centre) might start being used. In winter months this bay is home to calving grey seals.

Looking to a tall cave, the even taller Angel stack on the left of the scene, I worked one piece in watercolour and the other in ink applied with pencil and brush. Seabirds filled the air and any available ledges on the cliffs. A seal was relaxing on the boulders only ten or twenty metres from me.

Pre-lunch I started drawing a shag on her nest directly outside Low Light. Lots of shags are nesting here and we've been easily able to watch them turning their eggs and tending their young. Shag chicks are pretty ugly; featherless, black, reptilian little things. I'm not sure even their mothers could love them. The adults are beautiful. Their feathers shine in all different shades of green, blue and black. In the breeding season tall display plumes adorn their foreheads. After lunch the same subject in watercolour, A5, then began a larger piece.

In the evening back at Lady's Bed, painting a watercolour of the South Horn and an interestingly oval cave. The plants in the extreme foreground are sorrel and sea campion. The reds dotted over the middle ground are the flowering stems of the sorrel. These two plants absolutely carpet the island. There's also thrift but the many rabbits keep it stripped of flowers. In some years the rabbit population plummets and then the thrift thrives.

Before tea I spent some time up at Mill Door -one of the highest points you can get to- looking across to the Greengates cliffs. There was a strong wind at this side of the island and razorbills, puffins, guillemots, gulls were hanging in the air in front of me. Here are some photos:

 Mostly razorbills, because they're my favourite.

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