Monday 14 April 2008

Breeding birds and prospective homelessness

The birds are at it again and so I'm back to work, doing breeding bird surveys for the RSPB - Gawd Bless'um! Beautiful day today so, after returning from West Mainland, collecting kids and scoffing Sally's fab trout and tatties, had the best of the day looking at birds from the window. Some got sketched. It always amuses me to watch waders, when so thoroughly comfortable with the one leg tucked away, get disturbed and hop off on the one peg. I made a quick drawing as the oystercatcher did so and added some detail once it became stationary again.

I've also managed to squeeze in another of my regular commitments - illustrating the Orkney Bird report. The short-eared owl and the hooded crows are two drawings I made last week. The report is published in September (ish).

Most of the flock of shelducks which spend the early part of the year on the beach in front of the house have now dispersed to their respective breeding grounds. Just the two pairs remain which will, hopefully, raise broods here as they did last year. The colour-ringed shelduck has been traced back to the Eden Estuary, Fife. This bird is GN17699 ringed on the 6/3/05 at shelly spit on the Eden Estuary as a 5M. The record is apparently a cracking recovery. Many thanks to Alan Leitch, Kane Brides, Les Hatton (the original ringer and recorder) and Paul Higson for their sterling efforts in tracing this bird. I'll keep an eye out for him in future.

We thought we had solved our personal housing crisis and placed an offer on a beautiful old fisherman's cottage in the village. It dates back to approximately 1660! has beeen beautifully renovated and just about accommodates us and all our rubbish. We brought forward the completion date of the sale of our house so that we cold move quickly, only to find there is an anomaly regarding the house we want to buy. We have been advised to pull out of the purchase, but are already tied in to the sale date of our place. This means we are technically homeless on the 1st of May (Savannah's Birthday!). Ah well, the weather's picking up, so it's not too bad to be in a tent.