Who could not love a bird called a Haematopus Ostraleguis? According to my very well handled and battered bird book, Oystercatchers are found on coasts worldwide - apart from the polar regions and some tropical regions of Africa and South East Asia. My rather naive representation of this black and white species of Oystercatcher is found all along British coastlines and waterways. Bold in voice and body, this handome bird is often seen probing the shores with its stout red bill for earthworms, cockles and mussels, but rarely has it ever been seen to actually polish off an oyster. Well, certainly not by me - but that could be because I manage to get to those tasty molluscs first if I can! In the early evenings their enormous, tight flocks create an incredibly loud en masse chorus of 'kleep-a -kleep' piping trills which inevitably has everyone teetering over backwards as they gaze skyward in thrall. During courtship, this fellow can be seen tearing along the sand like a madman behind or beside his intended mate in the hope of winning her affection and deterring his rivals. I often wonder if, by the time he has managed to woe her, he is not too exhausted to perform the required act of procreation!
On a more serious note, here is a message from Kathy Light on why the prompt for this particular Illustration Friday topic is so important:
"It's hard to make ripples in oil soaked water. But throw enough stones and you will!
It's not about the politics or the corporation. It's about the animals. It's about not feeling helpless in the face of an overwhelming disaster. We're illustrators. We don't lose touch with that kid inside who marvels at the creatures who swim below and fly above the sea. We draw them. We are inspired by them. We need to help them.
The Ripple blog was started on the 45th day of the Deepwater Horizon Catastrophe. The oil spill in the Gulf is now over 50 days old with no sign of stopping. We may be too small as individuals to do some grand gesture- but together our small gestures can be grand.
This week's Illustration Friday topic is "Ripple" and I ask you to consider creating your work this week as a small 2.5" x 3.5" sketchcard. The subject should pertain somehow to the Gulf - the oil spill - the oceans and the creatures that live in it and around it. The cards can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org as a jpeg along with your links and a few sentences about you (ie: where you live, etc).
These will be made available for a small donation of $10.00 to either The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (http://www.imms.org/) or The International Bird Rescue Research Center (http://www.ibrrc.org/). I have no affiliation with them. Every penny will go. When the cards sell, We ask for a donation confirmation and you will be asked to sign the back with a thank you. Then mail them to the address you are sent. If we all do small acts together- we can cause a ripple- and it can grow. We can DO SOMETHING. Thank you, thank you for checking this out and thinking about it." ~ Kelly Light
You can see some wonderful contributions by other artists by clicking on this link http://ripplesketches.blogspot.com/