Tuesday, February 28, 2012

College project

Over the next week I need to paint a chosen organic object from a few angles. I chose a wing from a white-rumped sandpiper I found moribound in New Jersey a few years ago. This was done in class today under time constraints but am more than happy with my first attempt. Will hopefully have more time to spend on the next paintings.
Grey Partridge. This male of a pair gave fantastic views and were a great sketching subject in Rogerstown last weekend. Both fed along the edge of a crop field and seemed unconcerned by me. Hope to get out again for some more painting soon, the area looks fantastic and with all the management over recent months I am sure it will only get better. The young Peregrine below was another great subject. It spent the morning preening and enjoying the morning sun opposite the south hide. With the 60x scope it was possible to see all the detail. I can never get enough of birds of prey when they show this well!
These mandarin ducks were displaying in my local park on sunday evening. Upto 14 have been present since January, with atleast 6 present recently. The gorgeous colours, patterns and displaying postures were great to try and capture on paper. In the few parts of pond where the sun reached, the oranges glowed and the black breast and mantle showed fantastic purple and blue sheens. Hopefully they hang around for the summer breed this year.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

 This 1st winter Iceland gull was a nice surprise amongst the swans at Swords yesterday. It was found coming to roost during the week, today it was feeding aggressively amongst the black headed gulls for bread thrown out to the swans.
 Spent a few hours out at Rogerstown in north Dublin yesterday hoping for a few of the raptors that had been seen over the previous few days. The young male hen harrier put in a brief appearance early on. With a full crop it left the field around 830 am and didn't show again till I left around midday. I stayed around and had a few kestrels, buzzards, a young peregrine but no sign of the merlin, red kites or short eared owls that have been seen in recent times. I wandered around the fields getting to grips with the new layout of the area and was amazed to come across a pair of grey partridge running around the side of the road. I had been told there were birds in a cage in the area as part of a re-introduction but it was great to see them roaming free all the same. I followed the pair for a while and got great views and some quick, rough sketches. Hopefully they will thrive here as they are in the Boora parklands.

 This was one of my better shots of the water rail from U.C.D. last week. Was tricky to get a shot in the open as it moved so quickly and there was very little light. Have dozens of blurred shots of this bird!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

 Over the last few weeks there has been a water rail in a small marshy area in U.C.D. and I finally made it down last weekend to have a look. After a 2 hour wait I had fantastic views as it fed in the shadows along the stream. It seemed quite content among the vegetation but quickly raced through the open areas. Was great to see large numbers of siskins, long-tailed tits and bullfinches in the area as well. Hopefully I will get back down before too long.

 While checking a local dipper site on the way home from U.C.D. I spotted this fox sitting calmly on the far bank of the river near Terenure village. I was able to spend almost an hour photographing and sketching it before I had to move on. A local came down and threw the contents of a can of dog food across and told me that the fox is a regular here from around 4 in the afternoon. Will definately be back down here again. Was also surprised by a pair of Mandarin ducks just above the weir.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Travelled to Sligo last weeka for a few days and made it out for a bit of sketching on a few mornings. Raghly always gives more a few sketching opportunities but unfortunately this time there was a helicopter circling the area all morning. The geese were constantly on the move and rarely settled. A few smaller parties showed well in smaller fields along some of the quiter roads.

 I also made several trips to Doorly park and the quays in Sligo town to check the gulls. I had a minimum of 7 Icelands, 2 Mediteranean and a single Ring-billed Gull between the two sites. A few loaves of bread brought them all in and gave some fantastic sketching opportunities.
 2nd winter Iceland gull, Doorly Park
 Ring-billed Gull, this 2nd winter was in Doorly park only once out of 4 visits.
Med gull, this 1st winter was at the Quays one evening with an adult keeping its distance in the river.