February 8, 2017 14 Comments
Turnstones are birds of rocky and often wild seashores, where they live up to their name by using their bills to turn over stones in search of food.
But here in Penzance, in the main car park beside the harbour – and along the promenade in nearby St Ives too – they regularly come up amongst us humans when the tide is in, searching for scraps. In St Ives especially, people are intrigued by these little birds scurrying around their feet, thinking them youngsters because they are so small. I bought a pasty on St Ives seafront, sat down to eat it, and had several around my feet within moments – it was delightful to have them so close, and they gobbled down every scrap of food dropped for them.
Technique: as an ex-birder and someone who will always have an intense liking for birds (for me, their presence unquestionably boosts Quality Of Life), this shot is partly of ornithological interest – here is a little denizen of rocky and often wild coasts, usually observed only distantly, that has taken to foraging openly in a very busy, completely artificial, human environment. But to me also, in terms of composition, this image says something else too – here is the Natural World, very much overshadowed by, and under threat from, the requirements and encroachments of the Human World.
There are other pictures of these Turnstones, all from St Ives, here, here and here. Turnstones are mostly brownish above in their winter plumage, but beautiful orange-brown tints appear on their backs in the summer – traces of which can be seen in a couple of these images.
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Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 280mm; 800 ISO; 20 Oct 2016.