Pauline Wilson, RSPB Local Group Secretary, writes:
“Hi Everybody. Kate Thompson kindly sent a report from the Orkney RSPB Wildlife Explorers’ outing “What Can We See On The Peedie Sea” which was coupled with a Wild Art Workshop courtesy of local artist Tim Wootton.
“Incidentally, Tim Wootton has recently scooped the Birdwatch/Swarovski Artist of the Year Award with a fine charcoal drawing depicting two Arctic Skuas. Many congratulations to Tim on this great achievement.”
“Orkney’s growing band of RSPB Wildlife Explorers were treated to a master class in wildlife art. Sixteen youngsters were joined by renowned bird artist Tim Wootton, who provided some top tips on how to sketch birds, such as remembering that birds ‘knees’ are actually their ankles! The group also learnt from Eric Meek how to see birds up close through binoculars and telescopes before heading out to the Peedie Sea to put their new skills into practice.
“Fortunately, despite cloudy skies and a cool breeze, the rain held off and there were plenty of interesting subjects for the budding artists to choose from. They quickly demonstrated just how much they had learnt and came up with some very characterful drawings of swans, ducks and redshank. None could quite compare, however, with Tim’s own exquisite sketches of a long-tailed duck, which delighted everyone.
“In the run-up to next month’s Christmas party, some of the children will also try their hands at capturing wildlife in print, in hope of winning a national Wildlife Explorers poetry competition.”
For more information on RSPB Wildlife Explorers in Orkney please contact the RSPB office in Stromness and ask to be put in touch.
Tim Wootton’s blog is at http://tim-wootton.blogspot.com/.
On Friday RSPB volunteers Gerry and Ian braved wild seas, thunder and lightning, and hailstones the size of marbles, all so that they could spend the day on the Hoy reserve planting native birch seedlings at White Glen, an area of the reserve where the planting of native species - mainly downy birch and rowan - is ongoing.
They did a great job and the trees are still standing after an exceptionally windy weekend on the island. Hopefully the trees will do well and be there for many years to come, attracting birds, providing shelter and adding to an area of woodland which local folk and visitors will be able to enjoy.
Storm clouds over the Hoy hills (looking south east towards Red Glen from White Glen)
"Hi Everybody. I received an email from Ian Cunningham and thought it particularly interesting as his photographs show the birds in winter plumage which is quite different from our usual views of these species. A lovely seal certainly has the 'Aah' factor! Many thanks to Ian for once more passing on his photos to our local group."
Ian Cunningham says:
"Spent a very pleasant morning on Scapa Pier and here are some of the birds that were there. The little auk was a first for me and it was very obliging... swimmimg near the slip so I had great views of it underwater too. Loads of winter-plumaged guillemots near the pier and some nice long-tailed ducks and a couple of red-throated divers. There was also a young seal there which I hope people will like too!"
From top: long-tailed duck, little auk, red-throated diver, guillemot and the harbour seal.
All photographs: Ian Cunningham
Ian's website is at http://www.ianandhelen.co.uk/