Thursday, 28 February 2013

A group of Fallow deer resting in the sfternoon sun. This buck is seen regularly guarding a group of does. Difficult to draw, not because they are always moving but because groups of people, dog walkers, people with cameras and joggers  disturb them.
The Does stand up, alert to a passing jogger and his dog.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Fallow Bucks resting at dusk
Red and Fallow Deer gathering around the beet. Sunny evening but with a nip in the air. All the deer were gathered including the Fallow Bucks and Red Deer Hinds.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Red Deer stags at Wollaton Park. The Fallow and Red Deer had gathered at the top of the hill around the feeding area. They sat motionless for long periods probably to conserve energy in this continuous spell of cold arctic weather. Towards dusk the clattering of antlers could be heard as the deer became active and sparred with each other.
Stag grooming himself after getting up.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Treecreeper and Goldcrest field sketches. In the raw cold these small birds were very approachable. Lots of small bird activity around this area of Alders including Wrens, Robin, Blue, Great and Long tailed Tits, Chaffinches, Goldfinch Treecreeper and the same Goldcrest I saw yesterday evening clinging to the side of trees and hovering hummingbird-like. I even saw a Vole dart from its tunnel  by the bank to the base of a rotting tree and back again!
Heron pair. As one bird incubates chicks the other adult bird guards the nest area. I saw several fights between pairs as adults flying in with nesting material misjudged their landings.. Continues to be very cold and sitting birds sat tight on the nest.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Mallards resting under overhanging Alders at Wollaton Lake.

Walking by the lake at dusk I noticed a small bird clinging to the base of an Alder trunk. This Goldcrest allowed very close views as it searched for food 'Treecreeper fashion'. It seemed unusually lethargic and flew weakly from the base of one trunk to another with wings half open. It was fluffed up to the max in the cold. It was an absolutely exquisite little bird and wish I was a better artist to do justice to it.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Shovellers, Wollaton. Icy, raw wind with fine snow falling mid day. Watched a group of these ducks 'sifting'. Eventually they seperated into  their respective pairs and began swimming around each other in neat circles almost pirouetting to filter matter disturbed by the bird in front. They swam round and round for quite a while but were interrupted by a Mute Swan intent on chasing last years full grown young off the lake.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Red Deer Stag feeding on beet put out for them in cold weather. One Stag looked comical as it stood chewing on a chunk of beet. Rooks, Jackdaws, Crows and Woodpigeon gathered around the feeding deer. The Carrion Crows were aggressive to the Rooks and twice I saw a Crow grab the wing tip of a Rook which cawed loudly until it pulled itself free. Almost as if the Carrion crows were testing any weak looking Rooks.
 The Red-crested Pochard were in their usual corner of Wollaton lake near the reed bed. Lots of pair disputes. I saw a male attack another male which dived under water to escape. They called continuously which sounded like a strange wheezing squeak.
I saw the female Lesser-spotted Woodpecker again today. A Treecreeper climbed up the opposite side of the trunk at the same time working its way up faster than the lesser spotted.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Lesser-spotted Woodpecker (female), Wollaton. There was a lot of small bird activity in the Alders by the lakeside including Blue Tits, Goldcrests, Siskin (30+), Treecreeper and Nuthatch. I casually scanned the tree tops and to my great surprise spotted the small woodpecker moving up an Alder trunk. It was constantly on the move and soon flew to the island where it rested a little and began to preen. It then gave its classic Kee-kee-kee call and flew off over the opposite woods. I tried to relocate it unsuccessfully.
I have lots of pages like this - incomplete fragments of birds that move off before I can finish the drawing. These were a flock of Siskin feeding on Alders at Wollaton. Fast moving, restless birds. Tricky to sketch.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Bittern. Wyver Lane, Belper. Two Bitterns have been reported here for the past few days and as I had time I went to have a look. I was told the best place to look was a patch of flattened reeds which formed a channel and after some minutes waiting one bird appeared stalking slowly through the reeds (This area wasnt the usual phragmites type reed-bed but a finer reed-grass species). The bird was conspicuous at times but easily melted back into the reedgrass and eventually disappeared from view.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Red crested Pochard on Wollaton lake. They hung about the far end of the lake near the edge and werent at all wary of me sitting feet away on a bench. There was some squabbling between pairs and the aggressors were mainly the females warding off the attentions of un-paired males. A pair of Mallard dabbled and preened quietly. As I painted a Siskin hung upside-down from Alder sprays above my head, dropping cones below and a Lesser spotted Woodpecker called in the distance.
Stock dove pair sitting in the sun. As I watched a Great spotted Woodpecker alighted on the dead branch below them and began drumming. The Stock doves werent having this intrusion and encouraged the Woodpecker to find another branch!

Friday, 15 February 2013

Drake Shoveller asleep under the overhanging trees of the island. Its mate slept nearby. It remained still for some time which gave me chance to study the arrangement of Scapular and Tertiary feathers.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Drake Smew at Locko Park, Spondon. Very good views as he swam from bank to bank. He spent a lot of time diving beneath the overhanging trees and vegetation and was easily overlooked against the brighter patches of water though he was very conspicuous against darker reflections.. I saw him bring a large Perch to the surface and struggle to swallow it after which he preened and rested. It was bitterly cold with a raw wind blowing across the water which quickly numbed my hands making it hard if not impossible to hold pencil and brush!

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Shovellers and Common Gulls. Wollaton lake. So much birdlife on this lake that it can be bewildering to try and focus on something to draw. After a period watching it was interesting to see the interactions between different species. I liked the relative calm attitude of the gulls contrasted with the ducks swimming across to the rest of the flock busily dabbling and sifting food. Freezing, damp, grey day with no wind.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Goosander on Wollaton Park lake. It kept to the edges of the lake often swimming with head half submerged presumably scanning below the surface for fish . I saw it dive a few times and other ducks were generally wary of it.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Heron posturing to another bird flying by the nest. It also clapped its beak together loudly. Its mate sat tight on the nest.

Stock Doves

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Siskin. Wollaton Park. A small flock feeding in the Alders by the lake.

Herons nest building in the fallen Willow of the island on Wollaton Park lake. I was absorbed watching these. They (I presume the male bird) clambered among the branches deftly stretching out necks to pluck the wiry willow stems and flying back to present this prize to the mate waiting in the nest. Fascinating birds.