Thursday, 22 November 2012

Just had a wonderful long weekend in Extramadura, Spain, staying at the excellent Casa Rural el Recuerdo. A very good location and Martin's local knowledge was invaluable. Highlights included the vultures at Monfrague,( we saw 13 species of raptors including Spanish Imperial Eagle, Black-winged Kite and several stunning male Hen Harriers), flocks of Great and Little Bustards on the steppe near Campo Lugar, huge flocks of Cranes, and just the general abundance of larks, finches and sparrows. I would certainly reccommend it as a winter birding destination, we even had some lovely warm sunshine, it was quite s shock to come back to wet and windy Britain.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Managed to get to see the Desert Wheatear at Abberton yesterday, and what alittle stunner. It was incredibly tame as it flitted around the visitor car park in the late afternoon sunshine. The pale pinky-buff rump and all dark tail could be clearly see, and it had a large in inquisitive eye.

Monday, 22 October 2012

I've been working on some damselfly illustrations this week, they are such beautiful, jewel-like creatures.
A breezy, but sunny afternoon last week at Abberton reservoir. I always enjoy sketching Pintail and I was attracted to these up-ending drakes seen through the sun bathed thistles and docks.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Peregrine, Colne Point, 25/09/12
There is often an adult Peregrine sat in this particular field and I wasn't disappointed today. It was fluffed up and preening, enjoying the autumn sun, but keeping an eye on the passing Wood Pigeons. I settled down to sketch, but after a few minute I looked up and it had gone.

Juv Hobby, The Naze, 27/09/12
A good day of visible migration with swallows streaming through and small groups os Siskins passing over. This Hobby gave good views as it perched on a post inbetween catching some of the numerous Common Darters and Migrant Hawkers that swarmed along the sheltered, sunny side of the hedge.

Greenshank, Alresford Creek, 5/10/12
Low tide is the best time to see Greenshank in the creek, they race along in the shallows with bills open snapping up any small prey. The adults are already in their pale winter plumage, whereas the young birds are still in the neat, spot edged , darker juvenile plumage.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

What some weather! I've done a couple of constrasting sketches of Avocets, the first is a poor bird just sitting out the down pour. The second was Monday evening, the rain and gales had subsided, and the sun actually came out. The tide was rising rapidly causing frenzied activity amongst the waders. Even in silhouette the different species are distinctive, a moment later the mud was covered and he birds gone.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

A few sketches from my holiday in Calabria, southern Italy at the end of August. Birding was a little quiet, but I was delighted to be able to watch bee-eaters from the balcony most mornings. They really are fantastic birds, and that call is so characteristic of the Mediterranean. The numbers built up gradually to 30, and then one morning they were all gone.
One interesting aspect of birding abroad is seeing familiar birds in unfamiliar settings. I watched a group of Long-tailed Tits in a baking hot pine forest behind a beach, they looked sleek and dark, with grey backs and black wings. Very different from the fluffy pink, white and black birds I'm use to seeing in my garden.

Migrants were few and far between with the weather being so good, but one morning a male Honey Buzzard flapped up from the cliff and sat in a fig tree allowing great views, until the thermals got going, and it disappeared.
Since I've returned the migrant count has remained low, but the weekend seems to promise some east winds at last, so lets see what they bring.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

A few sketches from my holiday this summer. Glorious weather in Shropshire, and I painted this view of Cader Idris from Roundton Hill, and the ford from a shady spot near the river. We moved on up to Dumfries and Galloway, and still had good weather when visiting St.Ninians cave, (can you spot Sally and Buster on the rocks?)

Friday, 3 August 2012

Hi Imagemakers Team
Came across one of my illustrations on a reserve in the Welsh borders, nice to see it in its natural habitat, pic attached

Spent an afternoon with fellow artists at the RSPB's Wallasea reserve. Things are starting to happen at this exciting project with covered conveyors ready to deliver the spoil from the crossrail tunnels that will profile the lagoons that will appear from the flat farmland. Nice to see lots of Corn Buntings and Yellow Wagtails, and a Hare brazenly racing up the road.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Oystercatcher roosting at Alresford Creek, looking rather worn and scruffy

My first sketchbook blog shows paintings down on location in Cumbria in April 2012