Saturday, 25 April 2015

April's Antics

What a beautiful April it's been! We've been very lucky with the weather so far this month here in Yorkshire. So what have I been up to?

Art-wise, I'm plugging away at commissions in the background in and amongst wildlife surveying. Here's a taster of one I'm working on at the moment, I don't want to give too much away!

I also had the opportunity to attend another of Pollyanna Pickering's art talks. Pollyanna currently has a rather beautiful exhibition displayed at Haworth Art Gallery, Accrington and to launch the event she gave a very interesting presentation on her life's travels in search of special subjects for her work, a job many wildlife artists can only dream of! Such a privilege to be able to sketch animals in their natural environments and Pollyanna does a stirling job of capturing their characters in her famous paintings.

A couple of pics from the exhibition:

The warmer weather means only one thing in the world of ecology, survey-time! Great crested newts are well on the move now having stirred from hibernation before they head to their breeding ponds. It's always worth the late nights to see these fascinating little dinosaurs with their striking belly markings! I never tire of them. We also see other amphibians on our surveys including smooth and palmate newts, frogs and toads.

A handsome male with his crest along his back,
not quite so impressive out of the water!

Every newt has individual belly markings...

This handsome chap was in one of our bottle traps this week
his crest was particularly large, a fine specimen
You can just make out the iridescent flash on the males' tails,
a helpful giveaway when you're torching a pond at night!

Spot the Newt! Clue is in the last photo ;)
It's not all about newts though, we're also out for the first bat surveys of the year as well as surveys for water vole, badger, otter and other protected species. And plants too! Here are a few flower shots from this month...



Our native Bluebell

Lesser celandines

The arum, or lords and ladies, a favourite of mine!
I've also been trying to keep a hand in with my bird ringing training, hoping for lots more exciting sessions in store this year! A few birds from my trainer's garden. 21 birds, 8 species and 4 retraps, not a bad morning.

Started the morning off with this control female Blackcap

A noisy Song Thrush

And a female Bullfinch who was quite happy to stay a wee while :)
And then there is of course our loveable fluffball of a German Shepherd, a wonderful excuse for getting outside even more than usual! This hedge-surfing Yellowhammer was particularly welcome a couple of weeks back, so lovely to see them about once more.

Toby having a game of ball. We've been working up to these heavier impact games on hard tarmac as his muscles have strengthened a bit. Having only been used to short walks his fitness levels were down but he's a much stronger lad now and loving his food!

A bit picture heavy this month, I really should post more often instead of cramming it all into a monthly post, no idea where the time goes!

Ta-ra for now folks, 

Meg x