This week we went across to see an excellent exhibition of bird paintings by Mike Warren at the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club at Waterston House near the attractive village of Aberlady, about 20 miles (32K) from Dunbar. This exhibition mainly featured paintings from Mike’s new book American Birding Sketchbook. What strikes the view of the paintings is not just the accurate portrayal of the birds in their natural habitat, but the vibrancy of the colours of that habitat. In some of the pictures, it could be argued that the birds are, in fact, not the most attractive feature e.g. the variety of colours Warren gets in a picture featuring autumn leaves is outstanding, from the subtle yellows to the blowsy reds. So this is not just a book for birders (who I believe prefer this name rather than twitchers) but for everyone who enjoys the outdoors – either in practice or visually or both. I contacted the artist and he’s given me permission to include the front cover of his book below. You can also see some of the stunning paintings for sale on his website. Waterston House itself is a very welcoming place where you can see a range of books, binoculars, cards, posters and for the serious birder, there is the SOC library.
Just across the road from Waterston House is the splendidly named Gosford Bothy Farm Shop, set on the large Gosford Estate, which includes the impressive Gosford House. The farm shop is one of those modern buildings where, once you enter, you are taken back in time, as the shop includes a stunning range of butchered meat, as well as fresh vegetables and a range of “country” items such as jams, pickles, olive oil etc. (Vegetarians maybe stop here) We bought beef olives which are stuffed with wild boar meat. When cooked in a casserole with red onion, dirty carrots and local potatoes, they taste delicious. Beef olives are thin pieces of steak stuffed with, depending on where you buy them in Scotland certainly, sausage meat or white pudding. We also bought some very tasty – and notfatty – lamb and mint sausages. We’ll go back to both the SOC club and the farm shop.