Sunday, 2 October 2011

St Marys, Wed. 21 Sept 2011.

After yesterday's deluge, today was quite the opposite - bright sunshine and brilliant clear blue skies!  I made my way back to the pool behind the Dump Clump on Lower Moors, where the Northern Waterthrush re-appeared this morning, being watched by just Bryan Thomas, long-time resident bird photographer on Scilly, and myself.  Just two people watching such a mega in the UK these days, that's hardly believable!  The bird performed superbly in the bright sunshine, even Bryan was pleased with his photos, this being his fifth attempt at photographing it.  Despite the excellent views, I was still struggling with trying to portray the bird; still trying to comes to terms with its shape and structure, always difficult when the subject is constantly on the move. Some of the images below are ok, but the watercolour below right isn't quite right.  While watching the waterthrush, the Solitary Sandpiper flew in and it was possible to see them both in the same field of view through the 'scope!  Around 08.40, we saw the waterthrush perch briefly in an Elm tree - the pencil sketch in the the bottom right is quite accurate.  It then disappeared in the direction of the dump clump: it's morning performance was over. 

Now I was faced with a new dilemma: which North American passerine to go and see next?!  Black-and-white Warbler on the far eastern edge of Lower Moors, or the Northern Oriole on the Garrison?  Having seen two of the former before I chose the latter.  The oriole had been showing well all morning while I'd been at Lower Moors, but by the time I reached the Garrison, it had gone to ground, and I spent some five hours looking for it, during which time old birding pal Kris Webb strolled by and managed to relocate it in the cypresses above Morning Point!  He's just so good at finding needles in haystacks.  It wasn't until much later, at 16.47 that the oriole finally gave itself up to me.  For the next hour-and-a-half I was able to really study the bird through my 'scope and attempt the field paintings below in the evening sunlight.  A fine end to the day.  I felt completely exhausted though with just being on the go the whole time - hours spent looking for the bird, and then when it finally did show, utter concentration in having to completely focus on the bird and to completely ignore all distractions.  Like the birder's dog that crashed into my feet several times while I was trying to study the bird, it's owner completely unconcerned...  Also several birders trying to talk to me while I was trying to paint, sorry if I ignored you, I just have to work sometimes and seize the moment.

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