Monday, July 2, 2012

snow leopards

 I have been working on a few sketches and paintings of snow leopards in recent weeks. These two water colours were done from sketches in Dublin zoo with the background done from notes and photos from India.

I have spent a lot of time working on this oil painting and still have a lot to do. Hope to get a few sessions at it this week and would love to finish it.

I-Webs front cover

Got a copy of the wetland bird report recently with my painting of barnacle geese on the front. The painting was done from some sketches of birds in Raghly, Co. Sligo during the winter. The deadline was during the last weeks of college when I was under a lot of pressure to get projects done but I was delighted to be asked to contribute to the report.

Savis twitch

Was planning on a day in Cahore last week when I got news that a savis warbler had been found in Tacumshin, Co. Wexford. The next day I travelled down with a few friends and after a long wait we got great views as it sang in a willow bush. Views were difficult and the weather wasn't great so I was hoping to go back down. Another friend planned to go on Friday after work and stay overnight to make the most of it and I arranged to go down with him. By 830 Friday evening we were standing in the reeds listening as it sang intermittedley in the bushes infront of us. We scanned from several positions but couldn't pick it up and gave up after it got too dark. We stayed around the area for a few hours with bird singing almost constantly from midnight, a barn owl also screeched several times during the night. A 5.30 am start saw us miss the bird by a few minutes as it had been singing in the open for 45 minutes before our arrival! It sang very sporadically and I never even got a glimpse of it. While overlooking a channel in the reeds, atleast 5 waterrails fed down to few feet infront of me and I while watching them, a pair of juvenile reedlings flew in and fed on the reed heads.
 I tried a few sketches of the birds in the channel, but to view them without flushing them I had to squat down in the muddy water, far from the easiest conditions!
 The views were fantastic with 5 birds present almost continually for over an hour.
 While watching the rails, a juv male and female reedling flew in and fed beside me. Some of my best views of the birds yet.
 One of the better shots!

After a brief nap before some lunch we headed off to the East end and immediately picked up a glossy ibis on the patches infront of the dunes. The wind picked up and we moved to a bank overlooking the pond and started scanning. A pair of marsh harriers, 2 hen harriers, 1or 2 hobby's and a glossy ibis (later found to be a new bird) flew over before I picked up the forsters tern. Shortly after that a few shoveller flew in with an eclipse male blue winged in tow! The teal immediately swam into cover and proved very elusive for over an hour before finally showing well, feeding in the centre of the pond with the shoveller. It flew off to the main lake with the shoveller and we decided to move back to try again for the savis.
 The head pattern was striking, but at a distance the small white hip patch was hard to place and it looked like it was a secondary bar. It had me worried for a long time as it slept in the shadows of the reeds!
The teal flew out from the pond with a few shoveller but unfortunately directly into the sun light!

We spent the evening watching over the reedbed at Lingstown, a fresh juvenile and moulting 2nd year male hen harrier quartered the area with the 3rd year male marsh harrier joining them later in the evening. The savis sang twice for a couple of seconds but never showed and we left the area as it got dark. All in all, a pretty good day out!
 The young male hen harrier spent the evening quatering the reedbed at lingstown, gave great views in the evening light.