Coal tits are busy hoarding sunflower seeds from the feeders today. The huge crop of beech mast on local trees has meant fewer have visited us so far this autumn. They are very tame but probably lowest in the pecking order, meaning they have to seize the moment to land and grab a seed.
Great numbers of redwings arriving over Ampleforth this morning, all heading west. Between 7.30am-10.30am I counted at least 750 flying just below the low cloud which covered the village until mid morning. 300 or so dropped to feed in hawthorns giving me stunning views of these Scandinavian thrushes.
Here is a selection of the paintings on show at my annual summer exhibition at the West Barn, Pound Lane, Bradford on Avon. Limited edition prints and cards will also be available throughout.
Above- a new watercolour to celebrate the swifts of Ampleforth. The original will be on show and signed limited edition prints will be available at £50 each.
Next Wednesday evening will be an opportunity to learn about swifts and how we can help them, but above all it will be a chance to study them and appreciate them. We are very lucky to have a healthy population of swifts in Ampleforth but this is not the case everywhere. Screaming low level flocks of swift epitomise a summer’s evening and the village would be very different place without them.
So if you are free come and learn more about these wonderful birds. The evening starts at 7.30pm with a short presentation. There will be a display in the church and then the opportunity to for a short walk around the village to fully appreciate the flying skills of swifts. We can also see a swift on its nest with the aid of an infra red camera during the walk which will be about 40 minutes. In addition I hope we might see the spotted flycatchers which have set up territory in St Hilda’s church yard.
The event is FREE with light refreshments provided by the church.
Lovely to watch the first few swifts trawling the sky above the village again this morning. Their mastery of flight in a keen westerly breeze simply beautiful to watch.
An inspiring morning! Went out early to sketch redstarts, found a beautiful male singing despite the chilly easterly breeze and mist. He was accompanied by a couple of whitethroats, yellowhammer and stock doves. Back home for breakfast and I was alerted by the “chack, chack” call of a very late fieldfare opposite the house, at the same time a lesser whitethroat started singing in the garden, a garden first. An hour later at 8.55am a hoopoe appeared from the field in front of the house landed on a telegraph pole for about ten seconds then departed north east. This was my first hoopoe seen in Britain and although brief I was left stunned by the sight of this gorgeous bird. Fortunately my wife and older son also managed to see it. What a memorable morning and all before 9am!