January 2011

 

Thursday 6th

The Mistle Thrush

Well, as I write this the snow has gone for the moment but I am sure we have not seen the last of it this winter, so I do not mind featuring another snow scene this week especially as it is a portrait of the beautifully marked mistle thrush.
Larger than that more familiar garden visitor, the song thrush, it tends to be found in more open areas such as our parks and playing fields where it can be seen seeking ground invertebrates, its main food source. As with other members of the thrush family it is also partial to berries and fruit especially the berries of mistletoe from where it gets its name. It is also called the 'Stormcock' here in the Westcountry from its habit of singing loudly from the tops of tall trees during windy weather.

 

Thursday 13th

Barn Owl in Winter

Many of our birds of prey have had a difficult time this winter, especially those that rely on live prey such as small rodents, the heavy frosts and rock hard ground of December 2010 restricting most small mammals to their winter nests and burrows.Owls particularly really suffer in these situations, including this week's featured bird the beautiful barn owl. Unfortunately we cannot substitute their diet like we can our garden birds. One way, however, we can really help this attractive raptor survive in this modern world where most of their traditional breeding sites such as barns and outbuildings have vanished, is to provide nest boxes so at least they have somewhere suitable in which to raise a family. For more details on this contact The Barn Owl Trust on 01364 653026.



 

January 2011

Thursday 20th

Evening Light ~ Vixen

This week's painting was one of my more unusual commissions. I was asked by Wrigleys, yes, the gum people, to paint four studies of the wildlife to be found in and around their factory grounds at the edge of Plymouth in Devon. This portrait of a vixen at sundown was one of them, a regular sight in the area. I have situated her in their grounds with Dartmoor in the background.

I never tire of portraying foxes as they have everything for the artist, beautiful colouring, a balanced and athletic shape and are so much a part of our countryside and traditions.

Having hand raised and kept rescued foxes in the past I always feel a real affinity with this controversial animal and so admire its ability to survive in this modern world.



 

 


 

Thursday 27th 

Longships Peregrine

If ever a bird looked part of the rugged grandeur of Lands End and the North Cornish coast for me as a wildlife artist it would have to be the Peregrine Falcon. The huge towering Cornish cliffs with the pounding Atlantic surf throwing up white foam against against their base and the contrasting blue-grey sea even emulates the falcons colouring. A bird totally at home in this coastal environment, there is no better place to watch peregrines, especially as featured here with the sea and Longships Lighthouse as part of the scenery. Over recent years their numbers have increased to the extent that this once scarce bird of prey can now often be seen here in the South West not only on the coast but inland where it often nests and raises a family in our town and city buildings, cathedrals being a favourite for their height and many suitable ledges.