Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Barton-in-Fabis (opposite Attenborough across the Trent) In a patch of Dock fenced off by barbed wire were a flock of Yellow Wagtails. They restlessly fed, perching on Docks and wire fence where young Swallows waited to be fed by their parents. Suddenly a Juvenile Sparrowhawk shot out from the trees and chased a Yellow Wagtail, almost catching it, but was evaded and the hawk gave up followed by an irate flock of Swallows.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Mapperley Reservoir. At the inlet end the pool was more mud than water. Just before a shower of fine rain a Heron stalked the mud and had obviously been up to its 'knees' in the mud judging by its black legs.
Mapperley reservoir is another good place for Kingfishers. This one looked almost spherical as it sat fluffed up against the cooler temperature of the evening. 

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Egyptian Geese at rest. Attenborough. Their strange rasping call seems out of place here.
2 Foxes in playful mood on the large island on Clifton Pit. They must have crossed along the stoney spit as the water level is very low. They were objects of intense curiosity by the local wildfowl.
Looking across the Trent, one hedgerow was alive with birds and Rabbits. 2 Little Owls sat on fence posts in the sun while further along a Red-legged Partridge appeared with a brood of young chicks as Swallows skimmed and Yellow Wagtails flitted.
Returning to the car I noticed movement in some Elders and found it alive with Warblers : Blackcaps, Whitethroats, Lesser Whitethroats, Sedge and Reed Warblers, Chiff-chaffs and other passerines. They were on the move and soon flew out of sight.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Friday, 26 August 2011

Attenborough. Teal in the rain. Hideous drawing conditions.

Common Sandpiper bobbing about the mud beneath reeds on the far side. Also present a Green Sandpiper.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Attenborough this evening and a crowd of Coot gathered on Tween pond scrapes. All having a good preen before bedtime. Of interest were a Green sandpiper keeping its distance, a Curlew that flew over at Dusk calling and a dramatic, fiery sunset.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011


Quick visit to Attenborough this evening. Lovely light. Teal and Juvenile Common Tern on shingle islet. Of note were the large, clamorous flocks of Greylag Geese making an incredible noise as they were spooked into flight.

Monday, 22 August 2011


Looking carefully among the cattle on the opposite shore of the Trent at Attenborough there were lots of small bird movement, which turned out to be Pied and Yellow Wagtails. Some distance away so quite tricky to draw. As the cows got to their feet and moved off the Yellows kept in little packs, catching insects disturbed beneath hooves. Strange to think that in a few months time they could be catching insects from beneath herds of Zebra and Wildebeest! Further along the Trent pairs of Egyptian geese rested or grazed on the bank, sometimes making a strange hissing warning call as I passed.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Canal towpath at Great Wilne, South derbyshire. I visited this place some years ago as it is a good place to see migrants. I was shocked to find a good part of the habitat next to the hedge destroyed by a track made for diggers. All was not lost as I soon located a few migrants further back in the hedges. An immaculate Lesser Whitethroat and Common Whitethroats, a Redstart flitted about the hedge, ever restless. Bullfinches and many other small birds could be briefly glimpsed. I hope they dont destroy the rest of this valuable habitat.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Carsington Water from the Southern end. Water level very low. From the Sheepwash hide a Juvenile Heron stalked a pool left by receding waterline. It caught and swallowed numerous small fish before flying further up the reservoir.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Cooler temperatures today gave a reminder that Autumn's just round the corner. The Red Deer (Stags) at Wollaton were grazing at the top end. Closer inspection found they were beginning to shed the velvet off their antlers as some looked raw and bloodied. A younger stag sparred with an older male. Magpies perched on the deers backs after the insects i suspect.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Walking the path that leads to the Wet Marsh, Attenborough, Matt noticed small birds perched on top of the Blackberry bushes. These were Linnets - Cock, hen and Juveniles. The hen hung around calling all the time which attracted a Juvenile Whitethroat to the twig next to her and watched her with intense curiosity for a moment before both took fright and flew off.
Attenborough this evening. A family group of Great crested grebes. Chicks kept up an incessant cheeping, begging for food. Adults preened and rested, ignoring the chicks.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Found 3 Grey wagtails further up the lake near the first weir. A family group that flitted between weir and trees.

At the end of the lake at Kedleston is a weir that forms a splash pool before running off into the brook. In this pool were 2 half-grown Tufted ducklings that had possibly gone over the edge and now couldnt get back to the main lake (I think their mother was in the lake above with the rest of the brood) They both seemed healthy and were very active diving under and dabbling the surface for food. The falling water produced lots of froth which turned into fat bubbles among which the young birds splashed and dived.
 A trip to Kedleston Hall never fails to produce a Kingfisher (or 2) This one sat for at least 10 minutes in the sun and was easily the most obliging Kingfisher I've ever watched! Ive posted the 'before' sketch and with a bit of colour added, the 'after' sketch.

A small rough idea for a painting based on Egrets preening observed at Lound.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

A distant view of a Juvenile Black-necked grebe as it swam and dived in a bay of Neatholme Pit, Lound. I think I need a more powerful scope for this place!
An early visit to Lound in North Nottingham produced this Wood sandpiper. It hung around with 4 Green Sands. Very distant views of this bird and my sketches werent enough for a colour sketch so I used photos to get the details right and incorporated these into how I saw the bird at the time.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Black headed Gull drawn from kitchen window. Lovely strong light on its back set against a dark sky.

Friday, 12 August 2011

A life size drawing of a Juvenile Pied Wagtail that had flown into a window yesterday. Whenever I find a dead creature thats in fairly good condition, I'll take the opportunity to do a reference study. I will bury this poor bird in the back garden.
There are some very rampant Pumpkin plants growing in my garden and couldnt resist a quick sketch of one. The flowers almost close up before your eyes.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

An urge to visit Collingham and the surrounding Gravel pits saw me heading to Langford Lowfields at lunchtime. Very windy I was drenched by a passing shower. Quite disappointed at not seeing much birdlife at this place (wrong time of year?) Lots of Yellowhammers and other small Passerines in the hedges. This was done from memory as it flew off before I could get the scope out.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Lapwings from the Tween hide, Attenborough. Small group of Lapwing resting in shallow water by spits of earth. With them were 2 Greenshank and numerous Gadwall and teal. Moulted feathers formed white, fluffy edges to the spits.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Another 'memory drawing' of the dramatic light effects and cloud, as I waited at the level crossing - there seems to be more trains now than ever before!
Sometimes, just when youve packed up and ready to go home, you see something that interests you. In these cases I try and memorise as much as possible and do a rough sketch as soon as possible, before memory fades. This was the case on seeing this group of Coot swimming below me as I crossed the wooden bridge back to the car.
Little Egrets towards the back of the scrapes. At one point the Greenshanks fed in the company of  the Egrets but were soon chased away.
Two Greenshanks (this years birds) on the scrapes at Attenborough

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Quick sketch of Fallow Bucks as they rested on the golf course. Heads dropped as they dozed off.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Wollaton Park's 5 minutes away from me so its a good place to sketch when going further isn't an option. Red Deer sat in a group chewing the cud, I focussed on one at the edge of the herd. Then a walk over to the lake to watch Moorhen antics. Well grown chicks scampering across the lily leaves.

Aug 5th

Moorhen brooding chicks at Wollaton Park

Aug 3rd

Sketch of Newstead Abbey. Not many birds about but lovely gardens.
While watching the Egrets I noticed a small, dark Imm. Black Tern sitting amongst the noisy Common Terns. It was facing me for most of the time with the setting sun on its back. A passing Sparrowhawk caused all the birds to take off which gave opportunity to watch its distinctive, elegant flight. An unexpected bonus of the evening.

August 4th, Attenborough Coneries Lake.

I had heard about these roosting Little Egrets and wanted to try and sketch them. They were quite far off and the light wasn't so good but never-the-less great birds to sketch!