Friday, July 08, 2011

Living sculpture

click photo to enlarge
As I was walking down the promenade in Hornsea, East Yorkshire, my eyes fell upon the public art and street furniture that the council had commissioned to beautify the area. Most notable was the semi-abstract relief sculpture above a small pool featuring birds and the town's name. I also admired the long, narrow garden that had been assembled with walls of granite, short sections of "groynes", undulating grass, shingle, beach flowers and shrubs. The promenade railings in the style of an ocean liner's with a hardwood hand-rail, inclined uprights and lines of stainless steel cable between struck the right note by the sea. And the black, bird sculptures that topped the large, ornamental street lights were a nice detail. What a pity, I thought, about the concrete, tarmac and brick desert that had been created near the leisure centre.

As I made my way back up the promenade to rejoin my companions I looked up at the street lights and did a "double take". The bird sculptures that I'd admired were turning their heads to follow my passage: they were in fact real birds - rooks! Raising my camera I took a few shots of the living statues and carried on my way. After I'd walked a few yards I turned and looked back at them. It was obvious that two of the birds were rooks, but what about the third one? I had no binoculars so I resolved to identify it by studying my photographs when I put them on the computer.

Viewing the bird at 100% reveals that it is clearly an immature rook, a product of this year's nesting season. The reason it looks very odd, and made me wonder whether or not it was a carrion crow, is the shape of its beak.  Half of the upper mandible is broken off. Despite this handicap the bird appeared to be foraging successfully with its parents and managing to cope. I hope it continues to do so.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 300mm
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/640
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On