Iceland Migration, Iceland 2016
Below the Itchen Bridge in Southampton, Weston Shore looks out over a fairly industrial view but it’s the closest part of the coast to where my parents live in Southampton. On a summer back after Universityin Plymouth I was walking along this part of Southampton water when I heard an explosion, followed by a group of keen people rushing towards the shore line with hessian sacks. They had caught in a large net a group of wading birds and to my concern were stuffing them in the sacks. Looking back at their team, they looked to be senior aged people and equipt with telescopes and binoculors it was clear they were not there to harm the birds. On inquiring their friendly leader stepped up to exploain what they were doing whilst thrusting a bird in my hand to help with the operation. They were cannon netting and ringing these waders in order to find out more about their migration patters.
Being a lover of birds, I soon got more involved with this voluntary group and soon after went with them to Iceland on a bird migration research expedition. This group had been traveling to Iceland for years, working with birders, recorders and school children to monitor the Black-Tailed Godwit, a tall coastal wader that breeds every year in Iceland. Through their hard work they have raised awareness both here and in Iceland of the amazing journey made by these birds, and pushing for the conservation of their feeding and breeding areas to ensure their survival. Travelling with these incredible people meant we reached the remotest parts of Iceland and were welcomed into the homes of the most wonderful Icelanders. This painting illustrates Godwits flying over a huge estuarine valley we passed through on the West coast of Iceland which was a feeding ground for many waders. This painting is dedicated to the birders Peter Potts and Ruth Croger. I thank this noble pair for their knowledge, generosity towards me and all the work they do humbly for the natural world. I feel privileged to have spent three weeks of my life travelling around Iceland with with such noble people.
Water colour and pen on canvas