Well it might not be a great rarity but it's still a stunning bird and never fails to make a good subject to paint, alive or dead. I found this dead one next to where I park my car - it's unclear how it died; it was under a roost tree, so perhaps of natural causes? It seems unlikely to be cold weather as it's been relatively mild, and this bird is quite fat. It hadn't been predated either - no signs of blood, and nor was it a road traffic victim. A window collision isn't possible either. I've just been so busy all week I've not had time to paint it until this morning. I quite enjoyed doing it. And then I wanted to paint it again but I was running out of time so I just did a few quick sketches instead. Once you get started there's no limit to getting on with painting.
Thursday, 6 December 2012
I just about managed to connect with this Grey Phalarope at Livermere - a superb record and a great find by Pete Wilson! All the tracks at Livermere have been churned up by vehicles carrying wildfowlers. The ducks were all very wary. I was doubtful of seeing the phalarope - there was already a c.10,000 strong roost of mainly Black-headed Gulls. I'd already scanned the lake three times with my scope, when suddenly I spotted it in the far NE corner at 4.23pm. It was spinning like crazy and did a couple of short sallying flights over the surface. I watched it a short while then headed to the NE corner trying to beat the fading light. The light had faded further by the time I was closer, so I wasn't able to see all the plumage details. It flew out of my scope view at 4.37pm by which time it was rather dark, and I could not pick it up again. I wasn't sure how far it had gone, just a few feet, or further. Unfortunately it was not seen the next norning, so it looks like it's gone. Ah well, I did well to see it.
Just as I arrived the Dipper was back at the Bridge, I'd not expected to see it. I watched it for maybe 5 minutes and then it suddenly flew strongly downstream and disappeared around the bend in the river. I suspect that will be it for a while. I immediately set to and got on with filling in the sketch below. There was also an Otter which I had a brief view of. Always nice to see, but I worry for them, they are so vulnerable to persecution.