I took another trip to Shapwick Heath last week with the intention of making some water colour landscape drawings. The day was cold but I was determined to make at least one drawing.
This time of year the starlings congregate on the heath and at dawn and dusk they create their wonderful murmurations. So I headed for the RSPB’s Ham Wall reserve which according to the starling hotline was where they were due to roost that night. I’d planned to make a day of it and then catch the starlings show as the light faded.
It wasn’t an entirely successful trip from the painting point of view but I had a fantastic time. I’d forgotten how much fun and how relaxing it can be just sitting and watching wildlife and also chatting to the many ‘twitchers’ who were out in force with some impressive lenses. Despite my intention to focus on the fabulous colours of the water and reeds it was impossible to ignore the birds. I saw swans, snipe, teal, shoveler ducks and a kingfisher. I had the rather unpleasant experience of listening to those with lenses discussing the kingfishers antics without the equipment to see it for myself. Eventually a very king lady offered me her binoculars and I had the pleasure of seeing the little orange flash flitting in and out of a bush, fishing. Wonderful!
Having had a spell away from making art for the past six months due to other commitments I wasn’t as well prepared as I’d have liked. Basically I just threw some paints, a themos of tea and a sketchbook into a bag, ate pork pie and chocolate in the car on the way.
Consequently after two and a half hours of sitting still when 4.30pm arrived and the starlings began to gather I was STARVING and although my newly acquired snow boots had done their job of keeping my feet warm the rest of me began to shiver uncontrollably. Getting up and walking about only made the situation worse as I had no energy reserves left. Next time there will be bino’s & cake as well as tea!