Orison For A Curlew

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“The Slender-billed curlew, Numenius tenuirostris, ‘the slim beak of the new moon’, is the world’s rarest birds.

It once bred in Siberia and wintered in the Mediterranean basin, passing through the wetlands and estuaries of Italy, Greece, the Balkans and Central Asia. Today, the Slender-billed curlew only exists as a rumour, a ghost species surrounded by unconfirmed sightings and speculation. The only certainty is that it now stands on the edge of extinction.

Birds are key environmental indicators. Their health or hardship has a message for us about the planet, and our future. What does the fate of the Slender-billed curlew mean for us and the natural world? What happened to it, and why?

Orison for a Curlew journeys through a fractured Europe in search of the Slender-billed curlew, following the bird’s migratory path on an odyssey that takes us into the lives of the men and women who have fought to save the landscapes to which the bird belongs.

This is a story of beauty, triumph and the struggles of conservation. It is a homage to a creature that may never be seen again.”

Little Toller Books

Here is a review of it by the Independent. 

curlew drawing for blog

Orison for a Curlew can be bought at Little Toller Books and Waterstones.

Orison - front artwork

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Papillion De Nuit

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The seventh annual symposium for New Networks For Nature took place in Stamford Arts Centre on 12th–14th November 2015.

 It included talks by Ruth Padel and Germain Greer, a debate with Tony Juniper and George Monbiot, a film by John Aitchison and the Concrete Nature exhibition featuring artwork by Nik Pollard, Carry Akroyd, Dafila Scott, Elle Salt, Shelley Perkins, Kittie Jones, Richard Jarvis, Richard Allen, Matt Underwood, John and Jane Paige, Harriet Mead, Jo Ruth, Adele Pound, Lucy Stevens, Kate Foster, Esther Tyson, and Beatrice Forshall.

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        Peppered Moth 

Smoke kills lichen. That is what happened in large areas of Britain during the 19th century due to rapid industrialisation. The light coloured lichens disappeared as the tree trunks were blackened by soot. Pale coloured moths which had been well camouflaged when they rested on tree trunks became very conspicuous and were eaten by birds. Rare dark moths, which had been conspicuous before, were now well camouflaged in the black background. As birds switched from eating mainly dark moths to mainly pale moths, the most common moth colour changed from pale to dark. The moths had evolved. The Peppered moth is one of the best examples of evolution by natural selection and is often referred to as ‘Darwin’s Moth’.

Having adapted so well to survive the earlier damages of industrialisation, this species is now declining overall. Between 1968 and 2002 numbers of the Peppered Moth in Britain fell by almost two thirds, although the causes are as yet unknown.

Concrete Nature 01

Peppered moth, Moorhen and Battersea Peregrine

Call Of The Cuckoo

Spring exhibition at Potterton Books London

93 Lower Sloane Street,

SW1W 8DA

12th May-30th June 2015

In support of the charity Buglife

Cuckoo black and white to send

  ‘What would it mean to us if the Spring bringers stopped arriving?
If the great eternal migration machine started to go wrong, if trouble, serious trouble, got into the works, and the birds that for all our time as humans have come on their great journeys and announced that the winter is past, and the rain is over and gone, came no longer?
How much would it matter to us? How would we measure it, as a loss? It would not be immediately catastrophic, as the loss of bees would be catastrophic (for then much pollination would stop and swathes of agriculture would collapse). Life would go on. But what would it mean to our souls?
What strange exercise could we compare it to?
Would it be like the loss of rainbows?
Would it be like the loss of roses?
Would it be like the loss of rivers, of running water?
Would it be greater than that? Would it be like the loss of music?
Would it be like the loss of hope?
We ought to start working it out pretty soon, for the process has already begun.’
 Michael McCarthy, ‘Say Goodbye to the Cuckoo

This July and August I will be exhibiting with Ghosts of Gone Birds, at the South Beach Tower, Aldeburgh, Suffolk.

30% of the sales of each artwork will go to a frontline bird conservation project.

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Midway, a film by Chris Jordan

http://vimeo.com/25563376

There are 21 species of albatrosses, 19 of which are threatened with extinction. With a wingspan of up to 12 feet, they are one of the largest birds on the planet, and can live as long as 50 years. Many of the species  mate for life. They lay one egg every one or two years. When the young are ready, they leave the colony and spend an astonishing six years at sea, they will return to the island to find a mate and breed.
 The two greatest threats to Albatross are human fishing and pollution of the oceans. Long line fishing involves a single line, up to 130 kilometres in length, with thousands of baited hooks attached to it, being pulled by a boat. The albatross try to eat the bait from the line as it is set behind the boat, but instead swallow the hooks and are dragged under and drown.
 Scientists who are taking water samples in some of the most remote areas of the Ocean are finding 6 times more plastic particles than phytoplankton. The Albatross mistake plastic for fish and squid and feed it to their young, this fills the chick’s stomachs, leaving no room for water or food and they end up dying of starvation. As albatross are long-lived birds, they are exceptionally vulnerable to the effects of any threats. They cannot breed fast enough to replace the numbers being killed.  
Plastic does not just effect the Albatross but all marine life, and ultimately us. It breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces but never fully disappears, and will release chemicals into the fish that eat it.  We are as dependent on the wellbeing of the sea, as any other creature.
Save seabirds, never use plastic.
Sea chair by Studio Swine

Aldeburgh tower photo

This month’s Resurgence and Ecologist featured my work  alongside an article by Germaine Greer. She will be doing a talk  in association with the Bristol Festival of Nature and Ideas on Thursday 12th June, 6.15-7.15p.m. The lecture will be about the environment, and her project to return 148 acres (60 hectares) of run-down dairy farm to sub-tropical rainforest.

https://www.resurgence.org/

http://www.bnhc.org.uk/festival-of-nature/

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