Down By the Seaside

Listen closey and maybe you can hear the sound of waves lapping at the rocks.

By: Del Herbert
Photography by Elsa Flores

My finished carving included a black oystercatcher, two ruddy turnstones, and various other samples of ocean life.

At the 2011 Easton Waterfowl Festival I was honored to be selected as the 2012 Master Carver. For those who may not know, on the second weekend in November each year the town of Easton, Maryland, holds one of the largest waterfowl festivals in the United States. Last year was the festival’s 42nd year. Over that time it has awarded over $5 million in conservation grants to more than 50 organizations, mainly for Chesapeake Bay watershed projects.

It is a tradition that each year a Master Carver creates a centerpiece for the festival. Having a natural affinity for shorebirds, I focused on them right away when I began thinking about what I wanted to create. I did not have a single vision for the piece but over the years I have spent many hours on or near seaside rock piles observing shorebirds and I had received some recent inspiration from a collection of sightings at Ocean City, Maryland; Imperial Beach, California; and in the Pacific Northwest. These images coalesced when my friend Tom Newell sent me some photos of black oystercatchers and black turnstones on rocky shoals off La Conner, Washington. I sat down at the drawing table to translate these visions into a single composition.

Read the rest of this article in Wildfowl Carving Magazine's Spring 2013 issue.


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