Monday, 31 March 2014

A Surprise Birthday Weekend

A jolly lovely weekend was had in Wales, staying in a gorgeous 200 year old cottage just outside Porthmadog. Gorgeous garden filled with birds singing away in warm weather which we were very fortunate to have for most of the weekend. My other half had been keeping the whole trip a secret for some time, I didn't even know what country he was taking me to! It was so lovely to get back to Wales though and we were certainly blessed with the weather!

On arriving we had a bit of time to spare before a couple of our friends were due to arrive so we went and explored Porthmadog to find an OS map of Snowdonia. Naturally I wanted to visit the estuary so we parked the other end of "Y Cob" and I was chuffed to find a little bird hide with the comfiest bench! Late afternoon it was and there wasn't much to see, I wished I'd brought my spotting scope. Just a Heron and a pair of Shelduck to be seen from the hide. As we drove back across Y Cob embankment I got a bit too excited about a bird of prey flying across the estuary - an Osprey! My first this year :)

View from Y Cob
The comfiest hide bench ever!

So the plan for the next day was to climb Mount Snowdon which I was very chuffed about as it's been on my to do list for some time...despite having climbed 6 other peaks (Cadair Idris and Pen Y Fan twice!) during my 3 years at university Snowdon (the highest Welsh peak) had eluded me on 3 separate occasions but better late than never! We had hoped to climb the Crib Goch ridge but on arriving at the visitor centre conditions looked a tad too windy to attempt it and with 60 mph gusts predicted it was decided to give it a miss - this time. We headed up the Pig track and back down the Miner's track. Blue skies and sun for the hike up, the tracks were certainly busy with plenty of people. A Sea King chopper roared about the summit for a good while and gave us amazing views.

View down the Llanberis Pass, a route I absolutely have to re-visit on my motorbike!
Snowdon Summit
Coming down the Miner's Track

We made it up and down in good time, back to the cottage for a homecooked meal of spaghetti bolognese, garlic bread and a couple of bevvies :)

These lovely old plates were in our bedroom, reminded me of my time on Skomer, such a shame our coastlines are no longer home to the Great and Little Auks.

So all in all a great success of a weekend! Art-wise, my original Gorillas drawing is due to come back from the framers in preparation for it's trip down to that London! I've a busy week ahead what with one thing and another so  not much drawing is going to get done until the back end of the week but the Puffin Study is really coming along now, I'll be posting up another progress blog post shortly :)

Meg x

Saturday, 22 March 2014

BIG Art news!

So I opened my email inbox on Thursday to find a piece of amazing, superb, thrilling news. My Mountain Gorillas have been shortlisted for the David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year award and will be exhibited along with many other wildlife artists at the Mall Galleries in LONDON in June!!! I had to re-read the email so many times to check I'd not missed something but it's still there in black and white, eeee!

The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation carry out vitally important charity and conservation work, David Shepherd himself being made a CBE for his services to the world of conservation. Proceeds from the sales of artwork at the Exhibition in June will be put towards the organisation's many conservation projects. You can read more about these projects here

This is definitely the biggest thing to happen in my art career so far and it certainly seems to have filled me with a new-found respect for myself and my art, the fact that a prestigious international art competition has seen fit to accept a piece of my work and provide a space for it to hang in the company of many superb artists in our capital city is, quite frankly, blowing my mind! I'm feeling motivated and inspired to create new pieces where previously I admit I was wondering if all the hours spent on drawings was a productive way to spend my time. I'm thrilled and beyond chuffed! I finally feel like the last four years of completing pet commissions for those wonderful people who enjoyed my art are being rewarded as well as me, I am so grateful for that.

Anyway, this is the drawing in question! Have a click on the pic to see in a tad more detail.

Naturally I guess that now would be a good time to mention that this drawing is available as a Limited Edition print, so that's limited to 100 prints! These and a selection of other prints can be purchased from my online shop

Now I need to get cracking and finish off those Puffins so I can get started on a very exciting new drawing which isn't like anything I've done previously, a bit of fun too, watch this space! I'll post an update on how the Puffin Study is coming along on here in the next couple of days :)

Ciao for now,
Meg x

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Fewston Reservoir, Sunday am

After a slight delay getting out the door thanks to spilling a portion of stew all over the fridge freezer we headed out to Fewston Reservoir at Blubberhouses just off the A59. I go past this reservoir on the bike every time I'm out ringing so thought it would make for a good length walk as plenty else to be doing for the rest of the day. A total of 3.7 miles round the whole perimeter and a nice easy stroll.

Plenty to be seen on what was a stunning start to the day. From the road dozens of Lapwing could be seen displaying on the moor, Curlew too. My first Treecreeper of the year spotted almost straight away. A lone Great Crested Grebe in full breeding garb was bobbing about, a shame it was alone as I love to see the amazing dancing displays of one of my favourite birds. I was chuffed to bits with the next spot, 26 gorgeous Whooper Swans bang in the middle of the res, stopping off before heading north to their breeding grounds, Iceland, Scandinavia or Russia...I've not managed to get round to seeing them this winter so definitely better late than never!

Tufted Duck, Mallard, Teal and Goldeneye also around as well as a pair of bright Grey Wagtails on the water's edge, always a welcome sight.

Done my chores for the day so I can now settle down to a bit of Puffin drawing after what has been a hectic week of other work, it will feel good to pick up my pencils again!

Sunrise and a Starling before setting off

26 Whooper Swans in total


Grey Wagtail
Male Goldeneye

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday folks :)

Sunday, 2 March 2014

A successful morning's ringing

Yesterday's ringing session in my trainer's back garden proved another successful haul of over 70 new birds including 26 Siskin, 20 Goldfinch and 10 Redpoll. Ten species in total, the others were Robin, Blackbird, Wren, Greenfinch, Blue Tit, Bullfinch and a new one for me, a handsome male Starling. The first time I've even seen one in the hand so I was a happy bunny! 

I have Starlings nesting in the garage every year so I do get great opportunities to see them up close but not quite the same! They do have a reputation for being rather feisty in the hand but yesterday's was good as gold!

Some photos :)

A stunning male Bullfinch, a real favourite of mine!
A male Blackbird, we had another with an almost orange beak, most handsome!
Wriggly Wren
And my personal highlight, a male Starling!
The blue base of the beak tells us he's a male, if it was pink it would be a female, quite fitting really!
Iridescent feathers galore!