Follow by Email

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Back to painting!

Barn Owl (part of my latest study page)

I've neglected the brushes recently but have got them out again over the last few days and completed two more pages for my ongoing wildlife journal, one of a barn owl we've watched a couple of times hunting in the afternoon and another of ptarmigan seen on our trip to the Cairngorms at the beginning of the month.  It's good to be painting again!

I'm happy to say that the first two red deer  watercolours which I painted to raise money for the South West Deer Rescue Association have been sold.  One of these paintings may be used as their logo which would be a lovely honour if that goes ahead.  I've also been helping out with artwork for a logo for another association so I'm looking forward to seeing what happens there.

There is also good news on the work front and I'm currently being trained as a Forest School leader, something I've wanted to do for a long time now and I'm thrilled to have been given the opportunity through work and am looking forward to putting it all into practice once I'm trained. This is the little camp in the woods where we have been having our training.  Today we've been building shelters, chopping and sawing wood, making crafts using woodland resources, making camp fires and more - lots of fun and learning new skills too.

Friday, 19 February 2016

A recent wander in Snowdonia

'The mountains are calling and I must go' 
John Muir

I just love walking in the mountains especially on a good weather day so when I saw that the forecast was looking bright and sunny last Monday I headed off to Snowdonia for the day with Holly.  We went for a wonderful walk in one of my favourite areas, Cwm Idwal, then in the afternoon decided to walk up Crimpiau which has lovely views in all directions.  The sun was getting low as I was descending Crimpiau so I decided to stay and watch the sun set before heading home.  I hope you enjoy this selection of photos from the day

Cwm Idwal

Pen yr Ole Wen from the head of Llyn Idwal

Pen yr Ole Wen and Llyn Idwal

Idwal Slabs 

Pen yr Ole Wen and Llyn Idwal

Y Garn and Foel Goch


Holly at Llynnau Mymbyr with the Snowdon horseshoe in the background

Snowdon from Capel Curig pinnacles

Holly on Crimpiau with Llyn Crafnant below

The view from Crimpiau towards the Ogwen valley



Wednesday, 17 February 2016

A wonderful weekend in Scotland

 We spent the first weekend of February in the highlands of Scotland, a trip that we had been looking forward to for many months, staying in a lovely little cabin in the woods.  We went in the hope that we would get the opportunity to see a variety of wildlife including Ptarmigan, Mountain hares and Crested Tits and we were blessed to see all three but with the added bonus of seeing wild red deer, red squirrels and to also have a pine marten, badger and hare visit our little cabin.

Our first day was spent with a friend of ours who lives locally and he acted as our guide for the day taking us to a very remote and beautiful glen where we saw plenty of wild red deer......

 and then on to a beautiful mountain valley where we saw mountain hares.  While Gary and Graeme were photographing the mountain hares I remained a distance away as I only had a small lens on my camera and was happy to watch through the binoculars.  I was thrilled however when I saw a hare running down the mountain towards me, I instinctively crouched down and the hare stopped just a few metres away from me, staring at me - after watching him watching me for a while I slowly raised my camera and took some photos - what a magical experience that was!!!  Here is one of the photos I took

It had been a wonderful day and to top it all we had a pine marten visit the cabin that evening to feed on the peanuts we had left out!  This photo was taken by Gary through the cabin window

The pine marten wasn't the only visitor we had over the weekend - we also had a badger and a brown hare visit - I knew badgers like peanuts but have never heard of brown hares enjoying them - this one visited several times over the weekend!

On the Sunday we went to the Abernethy forest to look for Crested Tits and were thrilled to get good sightings of them - they can only be found in this area of Scotland and I have only ever seen one once before so it was wonderful to spend the afternoon watching and photographing them as well as a variety of other birds

On Monday we went looking for Ptarmigan on the way up Cairngorm mountain - it was a beautiful winter's day with blue skies and not a breath of wind - we could hear the croaky calls of the ptarmigan before we saw them.  Beautiful to see them in their winter plumage in the snow.  This photo was taken by Gary as I didn't get this close and was watching from a distance through the binoculars.  

I was also surprised to see lots of red grouse above the snow line - I hadn't known they came up that high - lovely to get photographs of them in the snow

After spending the morning with Ptarmigan and Red grouse on a snow topped mountain on a beautiful winter's day, it was sadly time for the long drive home to North Wales, leaving sunny Scotland behind ... but we have booked the same cabin for a few days in April so we'll be back!!!

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

A weekend of wildlife

We spent the weekend out and about with more sightings of a beautiful barn owl hunting on Saturday at Martin Mere - surprisingly it came out to hunt in strong winds and some rain, often landing in the long grass to shelter and then coming back up to hunt low over the grass - I imagine the poor bird must have been hungry to hunt in these conditions.

I got some photos of my own around the reserve

Long tailed tit

Long tailed tit

Beautifully coloured pheasant

Female pintail duck


Female reed bunting

Male reed bunting

Tree Creeper