Mull of Galloway

Savouring the end of summer

among the last blooms of

thrift and sea campion,

the cries of unseen kittiwakes,

clouds of swallows and martins

and the arrow-straight splashing dives of gannets.

Mull of Galloway lighthouse

It’s that time of year when every bit of warm sunshine is savoured. The air is cooler now, the wind is blowing from the north, but out of the wind the sun is still hot. We sat in the sun on the Mull of Galloway, sharing the end of summer with the birds. Soon they will be leaving, the kittiwakes out to sea, the swallows, house martins and gannets heading south for warmer climes. A day to remember, sunshine,warmth and memories to light us through the winter darkness ahead.

Mull of Galloway
Colourful cliffs at the Mull of Galloway

Duddon Estuary

The clouds dispersed to reveal the estuary

domed with blue.

A cold north wind blowing

but in the shelter of a hedge

the sun felt warm, springlike

with birdsong

and the first frogspawn in a ditch.

The rising, full moon high tide paused

at the outer edge of the saltmarshes

where the birds gathered;

curlew, oystercatcher, redshank.

Then the sea quietly,

relentlessly, marched on over the marshes

scattering birds, forming islands of green

that gradually disappeared underwater.

A stream of sea pushed in past our feet

to the railway embankment

signalling the time to leave

this inbetween place

to the sea and sky

and the birds.

Counting birds

These graphs tell a story

A ski slope line runs from the year I was born,

Downhill to today.

A precipitous decline

In numbers

Or visualise it another way.

A gullimot fledgling’s daring plunge from the cliff,

The rapid whistling descent of a displaying snipe

The airborne dive of the gannet,

The mournful cry of a lone curlew.

The echoing silence of once busy seabird cliffs,

Fields full of crops, but empty of birds,

These graphs tell a story

But the story isn’t finished

How it ends is up to us.

Waiting for inspiration

I have been wondering where my next painting will come from,

When I’ll feel like picking up my brushes again.

I don’t force it,

Inspiration can come in waves, or drops,

It trickled through this weekend,

First, a glimpse of a dusty canvas,

A feeling that I’d like to play with paint on it,

But not knowing what the subject would be.

Then, brightening up breakfast, goldfinches on the bird feeder.

Later, out birding,  I glimpsed a tawny owl, roosting in a tree.

I watched a kingfisher, blue and orange among ochre reeds,

It caught three silvery fish while I watched.

And then, through my binoculars, a close up of branches and yellow lichen,

Mossy greens, rich browns and an idea takes shape,

The perfect background on which to paint

Goldfinches.