‘Treasure in the grass – masked lapwing eggs’
Pastel on Colourfix paper
Image size 22 x 31cm
When the freezing winds of Winter are biting and many plants have gone into shutdown to wait for the warm days of Spring, some birds take this time of relative peace and quiet to get ready for their next clutch of chicks. Birds such as the masked lapwings who live around our lake are such ever restless critters. Right now, they seem to have nothing on their minds apart from arguing over territory with other lapwings and selecting the most favorable nest site in which to lay their first eggs of the year. All through the day we hear their paranoid, high-pitched screeching as they plough their excess energy into chasing off other birds.
Here in 10 years we have yet to see our lapwings successfully raise a clutch as feral foxes (introduced by stupid humans) invariably get the eggs long before they hatch. Sometimes if I am lucky, I at least get to see the eggs and this pastel painting is of one such clutch in a nearby area. I don't know if these adults were more successful than ours
and I can only hope so.
But at this unfortunate time of fear and lock-down restrictions I am forced to contemplate the ephemeral nature of all life and the vulnerability which all living things must deal with. Even we humans, in the developed world, who are usually so arrogant and self-assured that we imagine ourselves as gods and somehow immortal are now getting a genuine object lesson in humility.... and not before time! Entirely free of charge Covi19 is driving home a message on behalf of the planet which appears to me to be saying 'Wake up!! You are all dependent upon nature for your survival and if you continue to treat her badly, she will remove you.' After all, 99.9% of all living things that have ever existed on this tiny planet have actually passed into extinction for one reason or another. What fool ever thought we would be immune to this fundamental reality?
Meantime I have my fingers and toes crossed for the lapwings and I will be doing my best
to chase away foxes on their behalf