Valentine Day 14 February 2017
This is my first ever Lino cut print. I was inspired to portray a lapwing from my visit to Rainham Marshes this Sunday where we saw a whole load of them.
Love is going walking and seeing a lapwing
Escaping the city is my favourite pass-time and last Sunday we went for a walk round the RSPB Nature Reserve at Rainham Marshes.
The weather is cold, dank, grisly and grey; rather like the light that Tolkien describes in The Lord of the Rings about Mordor where the sun doesn’t shine.
In the RSPB café before our walk I overhear one person complaining it is too grey and gloomy to venture round the reserve. Where has the intrepid stoicism of the birdwatcher gone?
Andrew and I pull our collars up and I wind my scarf round my head against the chill in the air. I clasp my trusty camera knowing that it isn’t what one would call ‘Kodak’ weather, but you never know what you might see, even on a dull, dreary day such as this.
I love my camera
I love to hunt and shoot birds with it and always hoping to take a decent photograph (with luck, one day I’ll get one!). Most of them result in what I call memory and evidence shots. They remind me of the birds I find and prove the sighting. And I like to use them later to confirm what bird it is. Today I take a blurred ‘evidence shot’ of a reed bunting. I also take a long distance shot of the Lapwings startled by a swooping kestrel.
Here is my ‘evidence’ shot of the kestrel
From a hide I whoop with excitement on seeing something rare.
I spy with my little eye across the lake something beginning with S! There are a few Snipe on the bank.
This is just one of my poor quality ‘evidence’ shots of the snipe so have fun finding them!
But the lapwings (or peewits) are the stars for me today. Looking through my binoculars I study the delicate long feathers crowning their head, and through the grey gloom, notice the greeny colour of the plumage.
Endangered Red List
I am horrified that this once common farmland bird is now on the endangered red list. The population is declining rapidly. Dusk draws in and the day gets darker. It is time to head back home. My mood has darkened along with the day. And my mind dwells on the plummeting numbers of lapwing. Their fate is in our hands and in the hands of the farmers.
It is Valentines Day today which is a day of love. For the love of nature, for the love of the future, for the love of the Lapwing and for the love of Mike! (Who’s Mike?) we must try and halt the depletion and dearth of farmland birds. But how? How can we?
The lapwing is a victim of agricultural greed and misuse
Incentives must be made to agricultural farmers to help protect and manage bird friendly farms. Bring the birds back to the fields where they belong, or we will lose this beautiful bird from our countryside for ever.
For now, the small populations are confined to reserves like this one at RSPB Rainham Marshes.