Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Members of TWASI ( The Wildlife Art Society International ) members visited  Dudley Zoo last Sunday (23rd June 14) as part of the Society's on going programme. It was a wet affair.

We set off to explore before meeting up in the cafĂ© for lunch. Having no umbrella sketching in rain would be difficult so I made for the reptile house - a good choice because it was dry and warm! Reptiles tend to be secretive and small but an Iguana posed very nicely against the glass front of his apartment.

I did a quick brush drawing on the spot and another when I got home using photographs. I rather took to him and may try to work up a painting from the sketches in due course.

In spite of the rain it was good to meet and chat to other members so it was an enjoyable day.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Birds Have Fledged - life goes on.

The young Blue Tits left the nest box last week. I was away from home so I missed counting them leaving. The nest box was clean - no unhatched eggs or dead chicks - so I assume eight or nine must have fledged.

There was no sign of the blue tits but interest now is focussed on Blackbirds. Parent birds carrying a beak-full of worms fly into a nearby Yew tree.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


I’ve been an keen admirer of Darren Woodhead. I first came across his work in James Busby’s ‘Drawing Birds’ then became finally hooked when I saw his own books ‘Between Dawn and Dusk’ and ‘Up River – The Song of the Esk’ displayed in the bookshop at Nature in Art, Twigworth.

So it was fascinating to catch a brief glimpse of his working method on Springwatch Unsprung. Lovely direct watercolours loosely painted in front of the subject but which for me capture the experience of birding perfectly. It’s sometimes difficult to locate the bird in his paintings but then isn’t that a common experience when we try to locate a Chiff Chaff or Blackcap in an oak tree?

Darren regularly posts his current work on Twitter so he’s worth following.

Saturday, June 01, 2013


For several years there’s been a nestbox fixed to an apple tree in the garden. It is a homemade job and blue tits quickly took to nesting in it. The birds were late nesting this year but finally I counted nine eggs in the box. Taking a careful look yesterday I was pleased to be met with nine gaping mouths.

Last year was a disaster for the blue tits in the nestbox.  A split down one side of the box was widened by Jackdaws and a Greater Spotted Woodpecker. The split was widened sufficiently for the Woodpecker to insert its beak and try to drag one of the chicks out by its leg.
A makeshift repair using a piece of insulating tape might have helped but I missed counting the number of chicks which fledged. At the end of the season when I cleaned out the box there were two eggs and the legless chick. I replaced the split side during the winter months so this year the birds have a smart refurbished box to enjoy.