Sonas MacLean, Alan Furst and turnstones

Another visit last week to the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club shop and gallery near the bonnie village of  Aberlady. There was a new exhibition which included the work of Scottish artist Sonas MacLean and we enjoyed seeing some very vivacious paintings, and one of 2 eider duck with their wings outstretched particularly appealed to me. because of the colours and the movement of the blue sea. I contacted Sonas and she kindly sent me two photos of her paintings – photo 1 is of the eider duck and photo 2 shows another striking painting, with gannets on sunlit rocks. I bought a set of sea bird cards (click on cards on Sonas’ website) which arrived in the post the next day – it’s always pleasurable to send (and receive) original cards. So, an excellent exhibition by a very talented artist – see it if you can.

I’ve just finished reading Alan Furst’s Spies of the Balkans which is set mainly in Salonika in Greece during the 2nd World War. I’m not usually keen on spy novels e.g. would never read Le Carre or writers of that ilk but this novel (picked up in a local charity shop) was very well written and maybe more of a crime thriller in my eyes. Alan Furst is a very well reviewed author e.g. “Complex,, intelligent and highly intriguing – Alan Furst is in a class of his own” wrote William Boyd, a writer I much admire. The Furst book has an excellent plot, a complex hero in Costa Zannis, atmospheric description of Greece in WW2, passion and humour. I must try another one sometime.

Out for a walk along the shore at my back door and on towards Dunbar Golf Club where there is a path along the course. I put my Tamron AF70-300mm lens on my Canon 1000D camera. Now, I give you these details just in case you are a much more technically aware photographer than I am. I am a very keen photographer and yes, one day I will read all the instructions,and I’m sure that it would improve my technique. So maybe soon – no breath should be held regarding this happening. I must use this zoom lens more often as I got some good photos of both turnstones (photos 3 and 4) and a curlew (photo 5). I’m just getting into bird photography and it’s fine when you have cooperative species like the turnstones or the kittiwakes which nest on Dunbar Castle. Curlews, like many other species, are very wary and fly off at the first sign of an amateur camera approaching. I often watch the turnstones through my scope in my house. They are energetic little birds which are very well camouflaged as the scuttle around the rocks and seaweed. They dip their beaks and lift up the seaweed to find food, and it’s entertaining to watch them.

Courtesy of Sonas MacLean

Courtesy of Sonas MacLean

 

Courtesy of Sonas MacLean

Courtesy of Sonas MacLean

 

Turnstone

Turnstone

 

Turnstones

Turnstones

 

Curlew

Curlew

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