Saturday, 16 June 2012

Harling forest

A couple of paintings from the forest the other night - good to get back into painting in the field again, even though the Hare pic is unfinished (so far)...

Great views of Woodcock, there was one roding over a clearing from 20.23 hours - I hadn't expected one to be on the wing so early before dark.

plant sketch

A quick outline of ornamental plum blossom.  Had an idea for a painting.

Hickling NWT

Last weekend I did a trip to Hickling Broad NWT Reserve with my cousins Garth and Ross.  Amazingly we managed to see some ten or so Swallowtail butterflies.  It would seem that we missed getting prolonged views of them feeding in the open on Hawthorn blossom as that has gone over now.  While we were walking back though a single butterfly settled a short distance into the reedbed and remained settled for some 20minutes as a bank of cloud came over.  This was ideal, allowing me to get some sketches of the wing pattern through my bins.  Ideally though I could have spent all day there just taking in every detail of these amazing butterflies!  Something for another day... 
Also no Norfolk Hawkers were seen. 

Major surgery

A few years ago I did this painting of a Rufous-breasted Accentor from Nepal, on here:
However, ever since I did this painting which on the whole I'm pretty pleased with, one thing has been bugging me.  The placement of its eye.  Finally I got the courage to erase the bird's eye which was too close to its bill and move it to a more accurate location in the birds head.  See for yourself, the progress of the operation...


and After:

Hopefully you can see an improvement! (Don't tell me it looks the same; I think it's better anyway).


Only my second ever Roller in Britain, stunning as always... Although there was bright sunshine there was a very strong and chilly north-easterly wind blowing in off the North Sea, that made viewing difficult.  The bird was quite active and feeding a lot of the time, ranging over a vast ploughed field.  Quite an amazing piece of re-location since the birds' initial discovery at Spurn.  Later we went to Spurn on spec (6 Bee-eaters were reported earlier in the day although they had flown south).  We did manage to see a Red-backed Shrike, and Lee picked out a female Red-veined Darter at the Point - a lifer for me!  Thank you to Malcolm and Lee for the trip.

By the way the first pic also shows a rain-bathing Wood Pigeon - interesting behaviour.

Marsh Warbler

Pics of the recent Marsh Warbler at Livermere.  Note the Ringed Plover that dropped in while I was there. (The Red-backed Shrike was from an earlier day near Cromer). 

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

First light at Lakenheath



The other morning I dropped in to Lakenheath RSPB having been up all night checking for Nightingales.  The light was amazing, it's good to be out early but I was so wishing I had my paints and my scope with me, alas I only had my bins - didn't want to have anything valuable with me in case the car got broken into while I was out surveying (not that it necessarily would).  The upshot was that I was travelling light and not burdened down by anything.  The lack of drawing materials meant I had to just use some scrap paper (comp slips with the old BTO logo on), and a biro.  The bit of colour was added when I got home.

I did actually see a male Golden Oriole that was singing most of the time.  It covered a huge area of woodland - 1km in extent.  I never realised one might have such a large territory. But it could be because it has no rivals for territory this year (seemingly), so it can make the most of the available space to advertise its presence.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Minus twelve in Thetford!

...was the night time temperature in February!  That day I painted these Lapwing on the frozen area of the Flood on the Nunnery Lakes/ Barnham Cross Common:

Slowly getting up to date; more to come but I've run out of time now--- just off to do a night shift surveying Nightingales.  Won't be back until first light.