November 23rd- autumn turning to winter

We have had a couple of really cold nights. November has been so mild to date but the colder weather has seen a big increase in birds visiting the garden feeders. Blue tits and great tits in particular are visiting in much higher numbers than they were a week ago and the increase was very sudden.

I made some studies of a wren yesterday as it approached one of our artificial house martin nest cups before roosting. They make superb roosting sites for smaller species during the winter, particularly blue tits and wrens. I have seen around ten wrens roost in a house martin nest on very cold nights. Normally, like robins, wrens hold separate territories during the winter but in extreme cold these boundaries break down as they decide to huddle together in a roost site for life saving warmth.

This morning I made a landscape study of a favourite old oak tree to the west of the village. It was interesting challenge painting the very subtle tone of frost covered grass. Its light icy green colour seemed to accentuate the darkness of the bare trees in the wood behind. Many trees are now completely stripped of leaves and I can again enjoy looking at the structure of the trunk and branches previously hidden by foliage. I have painted dozens of skies in watercolour this autumn. The late afternoon sky below shows an approaching weather front to the west. The evening started cold with the temperature dropping fast but overnight that frontal cloud arrived and the temperature climbed again. All my skies are accompanied by detailed weather records for that time.

Wren studies
Frosty ground- November 23rd
Late autumn dusk- November 15th

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