Birds are so much a part of my daily life, both in the garden and on walks or cycle rides and here, in the winter, we are lucky to have some extra bird visitors on the reservoir.
So on Saturday I went to look for the Great Northern Divers who have been around for a few weeks now and ..hurrahhh… I did get to see one and in close up too, thanks to a very kind man who set up a telescope for me. I watched it preen and rise up from the water spreading its wings, dive and reappear. It’s a beautiful thing.
As well as the diver there were tufted ducks, goldeneyes, pretty teal, many, many grebes with apparently the red necked grebe amongst them. Up in the woods I have recently watched the tiny gold crests, the buzzard, the spotty woodpeckers, and bullfinches, as well as the usual crows, mallards, swans and coot, moorhens, fieldfares etc etc nearer the shoreline.
So this week I decided to make a record of some of them in some sketches, in between struggling with prints and books. They may find their way into prints etc.
Tufted Ducks Aythya fuligula
First up is the tufted duck which I see every year in the winter.
A small section of the large flotilla of Tufties on the reservoir, their crests being blown backwards into little points turning them into slightly punk-y ducks.They look like little toys, all facing the same way, their heads turned away from the strong head wind, which I was cycling into.
Pencil sketching to get a sense of the shape
Brush and watercolour only, for a bit of discipline
They have very bright yellow eyes and a beautifully curved smiling beak.
They are delightfully smart and very graphic. According to the RSPB some are resident but others are winter visitors from Iceland or Northern Europe.
See more on the RSPB site here