Great and small

Week 15, 10th April – 16th

Whilst walking to a local shop, a flicker of white caught my eye. It was a tiny day moth, just over 1cm in wingspan. It landed on the dark damp wall, not far from me. I marvelled at it’s delicate feathery wings. They looked too fragile to survive our weather. I took a reference photo with my phone. Back at home I discovered that it was a Small White Wave. A day moth not usually seen until May. Our mild weather must have woken this one a little early.

We had bright sunshine for a few days. It was so warm that it felt like summer. We set to work tidying up the yard and getting the table and chairs ready.  There’s nothing quite like dinning in the garden and we do it as often as we can.

Hiding in a nook under the table was an orange ladybird. It was so vibrant in colour. We have already seen a few of the more common red ladybirds, but this fellow was the first ever of it’s kind.

Two days later we saw a fox slinking along the bottom of our garden. It was at about 9am. She was unhurried and moved from our garden to a neighbour’s, then over the fence towards the huge gardens of our neighbour, Sam. He has a meadow and beyond that is woodland and parkland. We were pleased to see this one. More often we hear the foxes rather than see them making that eerie screeching noise as they call to each other.

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Aerial Battle

Week 14, April 3rd-9th

I got my first idea for my journal right at the beginning of the week.  We watched a crow mobbing a buzzard above our garden. It was amazing. The buzzard wasn’t overly bothered and kept circling with ease on the warm air. Only after the crow had actually made contact a couple of times, did the buzzard move off. Not in a hurry either. The crow cawed triumphantly as it flew around a little longer.

A day later a bright little male Gold Finch was perch on a branch of the Camellia. The flashes of red and yellow catching our eye.

On a walk down the lane, Perran spotted a Common Dog Violet. We are going to transplant it, as it growing in a spot that will soon be covered in nettles.

 

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Singing in the Pond

Week 13, March 27th – 2nd April

The clocks have gone forward and the evenings are lighter. It’s still very mild too.

We stood in the back lane chatting to a neighbour as the sun was setting and we saw the first bats of the year. Tiny Pipistrelle bats flitting along the edge of the trees and across our gardens.

The next day the first butterfly whizzed passed us. It was hard to identify as it was so quick. We decided that it was a Skipper. Whether a Large or a Small we couldn’t be certain.

The melodious croaking of frogs from our pond made me very happy. Many of our friends already had spawn in their ponds. I had wondered if we would miss out this year. They were just waiting for an extra sunny couple of days.

I’m really enjoying the diversity of keeping this journal. I am painting things that I would never usually consider. I am being challenged each week with new shapes, colours and textures.

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Rescuing Bumblebees

Week 12, 20th – 26th March

What to paint first! I had so many things on my list of possibilities for this week. Blackthorn, Magnolia, Forsythia, Cherry Blossom, several colours of Pulmonaria. I opted for Flowering Currant, sort of.

We had some glorious, breezy, sunny days. Perfect for drying the washing. When I brought the laundry in, I found a weary Bumblebee clinging to a pillow slip. I took it out and coaxed it on to the wall. 15 minutes later, it hadn’t moved, so I placed a small blob of honey near it’s head. I have never done this before and was curious to know if it would revive the bee. I went to get my camera and was distracted for a little while. When I went back to photograph the Bumblebee, she was gone. Whilst looking for reference photos on line, I found a lovely picture of a bumblebee feeding on a Flowering Currant spray.

The wee mouse didn’t have such a happy ending. I painted him to honour the poor bedraggled corpse we found in the yard. One of the cats had caught it during the night and left it by the back door in the rain.

 

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The Gulls are back

Week 11, 13th – 20th March

As we drove through dense mist up onto the moor, ghostly white shapes flitted passed us. The black headed gulls were back. They looked amazing in the mist. They have returned to nest on the island in the middle of the reservoir above Belmont. They have done this for the last 40 years. It is a glorious sight to see the huge flock wheeling above the little island. They make quite a din too.

P spotted a green finch at the peanuts in the front garden. It was very exciting as that is the first one we have seen. I chuckled as I looked for reference photos. The darker feathers around their eyes make them look quite grumpy.

In between painting the black headed gull and the Green finch I watched a fascinating video by John Muir Laws all about painting birds. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgzhaGKKzxY I wish I’d seen it before painting the gull. Maybe I’ll do another.

The camellias are out everywhere. The shrub in our garden was a gift from my mum. Sadly the vibrant fleshy flowers don’t last long.

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The World is waking

Week 10,  6th March – 12th

Everywhere I looked this week there were so many things that I could paint for my journal. Spring is well on it’s way and everything is waking.

Here are the four things I chose.

Although we rarely see them in the garden, we saw several Bull Finches in the hedgerows. The rosy glow of their breasts standing out against the bare twigs.

The velvety tips of Pussy Willow had appeared along the canal edge.

We spotted a brave young rabbit out of the undergrowth near the vale.

As we drove to college, a partial rainbow glowed against a dark, stormy sky.

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Colourful

Week 9, 27th February – 5th March

As I was walking towards the canal in Garstang, I noticed that there was very colourful bark on the trees by the road. The first was Eucalyptus, patched in pastel colours. Next to it was a cherry, with the most vivid maroon bark slashed with lichen.

It was also a day for spotting pheasants. There were three in one of the fields beside the canal. One cheeky chap, being the ‘king of the castle’ on top of a huge log pile and sadly, we also saw three that had been hit by cars.

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