This seems to be a good year for Goldcrests, I have been coming across them almost every day the last couple of weeks. Yesterday, on a walk in my local park I found a flock of five feeding on the bare branches of a sycamore. They often hang from branches, looking for invertebrates in the small cracks on the bark. One left, calling, and the others one after another followed suit. I am starting to be happier with the results of my drawing tablet now, and I am quite pleased with this little beauty.
A trip to Alkborough Flats on Monday was a great chance to watch Bearded Tits. A flock fed nervously on the reed seedheads, showing how agile these birds are. They climb on the stems and balance with their long tail, that they regularly flick. Their warm colours matches the dry reeds so well that they blend into the background. A watercolour, pencil an ink drawing that took longer than I expected to finish.
I started this in the summer and forgot about it it. It is a Sedge Warbler I watched bursting into its song flight from a dry flower stems in the large bed of Rosebay Willowherb at the North of the reserve. I thought of using watercolour to bring about the bright red mouth of the bird onto the painting, but I think it is going to stay as a pencil sketch.
A group of Goosanders, known as Common Mergansers in North America, winter in East Park regularly. The drakes have a unique pale plumage, with orange and pinkish hues, that appears to glow, and makes them distinctive from a long distance. Drakes can change the shape of their dark iridescent green head noticeably fluffing up their feathers: when flattened they have an almost cormorant-like profile, but when fluffed up, their head bulges at the front and at the back, with a prominent bun. As they start to pair up and display at this time of year, with ritualised head shaking and drinking, and speed chases making they look like little motor boats, they are a fascinating wintering species to watch in our local area. A pencil and ink pen sketch.