It's been 2 months since I last posted, sorry about that! But A Levels have taken up all of my time recently, especially with mock exams last week. I couldn't even get out birding at all in half term as I spent all week revising! Sadly that is going to be the case for the next few months until the summer holidays.
However I have been working on a couple of pieces of artwork since the New Year. The first being a commissioned watercolour painting of a Red-backed Shrike, which was a leaving present for a teacher at school, from their department. The second is a pencil drawing of a Slavonian Grebe in winter plumage, which I was asked to do for the Spurn Bird Observatory newsletter. I really enjoyed doing both of these pieces, and I'm looking forward to all of the other paintings and drawings I've got lined up to do in the near future! (Please click on the artwork to see larger images)
In February I managed to get a handful of garden ticks, with a Cormorant high over my mum's one morning, and 3 Greylags and a Mallard low over one afternoon. And on the last weekend in February, I spotted 3 Siskins in my dad's garden, which stayed for a few hours before moving on. They came quite close to my bedroom window as well, so that was nice to see!
The most impressive wildlife spectacle I witnessed in the first 2 months of 2016 was watching a beautiful Short-eared Owl hunting over the fields at Cossington Meadows in Leicestershire. I'd kept seeing reports of 1 or 2 birds showing well at the site throughout the winter, and as it isn't too far from my dad's I took the opportunity of a free weekend at the end of February to have a look for myself. I watched the owl for about an hour and a half, as it quartered over the fields in the afternoon sun. It offered brilliant views; flying quite close to the small gathering of binoculars and cameras, and perching on a fence post not too far away. When I saw the 'SEOs' at Portland last October, we didn't see them until it was almost dark, so it was really great to see one in such good light at Cossington, even though it was against the sun for a lot of the time.
Unfortunately I couldn't take my camera or my brilliant Opticron scope, which would've been perfect for trying to digiscope the owl with my phone-scoping adapter. So I had to make do with trying to 'digibin', by holding my phone up to my binoculars and attempting to take a decent record shot, and I was quite pleased with the results!
So that was the extent of my wildlife adventures in January and February, but hopefully the coming months will see some more great experiences in our natural world!
I'm Sorrel, a young birder and wildlife artist based in the East Midlands - this is my blog all about my birding and wildlife adventures.