I love corvids, and it is hard not to love Rooks: full of personality, almost comical looks – with their long trousers and pointed head – and constant coarse calls. I sketched this one this evening, using oil and pencil settings with a limited colour palette in my Wacom tablet.
The end of september and early october is the easiest time of the year to come across a Grey Wagtail in my area. Today we encountered this one feeding by the side of an outdoor swimming pool used for kayak training in the middle of the city. They are very fond of water, their little sprints to catch insects by the edge of the water line with their long tails bobbing up and down constantly, and their intensely brimstone yellow undertail coverts, contrasting with the paler belly makes them easy to identify.
From my office, I hear a crow calling. I look out of the window and I just glimpse a Carrion Crow chasing a Herring Gull. Crows have a nest nearby, and are prone to defend the area around the nest from potential chick predators. The action happened too fast for me to grab my camera, so I drew this sketch to remember the event.
The alarm call of the crow, a rattling ‘krrrrr’, often alerts me of the presence of birds of prey. On one such occasions, a crow mobbed a kestrel over the garden, and I managed to get a very poor photo. I drew the scene in pencil based on a photograph.
This tiny, ever moving bird is a challenge to photograph. It is very acrobatic, climbs up tree trunks, hangs upside down from think branches, or feeds hovering in front of conifer branch tips. An early painting in the tablet, from a couple of years ago.
I treasure my encounters with Barn Owls. I used to dissect their pellets to find out what they ate, but watching them was unusual. Lately, I have enjoyed some recent close encounters with these birds in Tophill Low. A pencil and watercolour sketch.
The bullfinches in Humber Bridge Country park are used to people topping up the bird feeders to watch them up close. They do not disappoint. In our last visit up to three males and two females fed on sunflower seeds, barely a couple of meter away from us. I was quite pleased with the way the bullfinch eye came out in the painting.