Found a gorgeous Great Grey Shrike today. I have searched suitable habitat for the last two winters to no avail. It stood out like a white beacon against the dark browns of winter heather. Shrikes look so pristine, glowing white with crisp black and light grey markings. They can be very hard to find because they range widely in their winter territories, but hopefully this one is here to stay. It brought back memories of my first Great Grey Shrike, a sighting shared with my brother because we were kept off school with chicken pox! We were stunned at the time to see the shrike attack a large flock of Greenfinches on our lawn. It felt very cold on the moor today and the shrike literally warmed me up, you can completely forget the cold whilst sketching and watching a Great Grey.
A Nuthatch visits our feeder regularly now. The first time in three years we have seen this species on the feeders. It is a lovely bird to watch, so distinctive amongst British species in colour, posture and shape. On a dull November day the richness of the underparts set against blue grey upper is a striking colour combination.
Spent a super morning at Sansdend near Whitby. Four or five redthroats were feeding very close to the beach giving wonderful views. These birds spend alot of time underwater when feeding and I was kept on my toes predicting where each diving bird would surface. If I was lucky it surfaced in my scope’s field of view, but normally I would have to pan quickly round, find the bird and sketch before the next dive. I love Red- throated Divers having seen them in their glorious breeding plumage in the wilds of Sutherland peatlands, but they are a joy to see in winter plumage too. Seen well the dark grey back is beautifully spangled with white flecks and the shape of divers is lovely to draw.
My current exhibition at Bridge Street Frames, Helmsley will now continue until the end of Thursday 17th November. After this I will be taking part in an evening promoting feeding wild birds at Greens Country Store of Thirsk. This will take place on 7th December from 6pm – 8pm. More details will follow on the exhibition page.
This rather smart and distinctive moth is often found by outside lights from this time of year through to January. The caterpillars can be found in late spring and early summer. They feed at night and camouflage themselves on twigs or on bark by day.