Friday, 28 April 2017

Sign the Tree Charter

On November 6th, 2017, the 800th anniversary of the 1217 Charter of the Forest, the Charter for Trees, Woods and People will be launched. It will recognise, celebrate and protect the right of the people of the UK to the benefits brought by trees and woods.

Signatures for the Charter have been and will be collected at a variety of events until November, but you can also collect signatures yourself, or sign a petition online here.

If you do want to collect signatures, print off the images below and get people to sign at any events you're holding.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Paintings in Progress - Greenfinch details

by Amanda

The Greenfinches painting is progressing nicely! I'm now getting towards the final stages of the painting. Here are a couple of shots of progress from the last few sessions.

Here on the left everything is blocked in and I've started to add more layers to the birds. On the right, the detail and colour on the birds has been built up. What a difference it has made to them! The stump is also taking shape, with darks and lights established.

Further detailing is needed on the stump, and some more glazes of colour will enhance and correct both the stump and the birds. The basis for the birds' colouring is there but just needs a little bump to show off the greenish-yellow hue of the plumage.

I'm hoping to have this one complete very soon.

Friday, 7 April 2017

On the move

Bird migration is a strange phenomenon. This year, Sand Martins appeared before the end of February, and the first Swallows started popping up just after mid-March, but here we are, a week into April, and there's still relatively few Wheatears around the country, despite them being a species that usually spearheads the arrival of summer visitors.

There can be all sorts of reasons, with weather being the most obvious. Birds arriving from the Continent need southerly winds to make the crossing of the English Channel. Before that, those that winter in Africa also need friendly winds to make the crossing of the Mediterranean and the Sahara before that.

There's every chance that the winds this weekend will turn around favourably, and that we'll see a consequent influx of migrant birds. Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps are already singing their hearts out around Corby, but expect them to be joined by other warblers – Garden, Sedge and even Reed warblers, and perhaps Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat too.

Throughout this week, though, Northamptonshire generally has seen plenty of bird movements. Small, straggly flocks of Redwings and Fieldfares have been making their way east and north, heading back to their homes in Scandinavia and beyond.

And in Northampton itself, Waxwings are still feeding on berry-laden bushes and trees, fattening themselves up one last time before they make the journey back to northern Russia.

It's a reminder that migration is a constant, year-round process, in which the seasons blur into each other. Only at the end of this month will we be able to say that spring has truly arrived, but by then, incredibly, the start of autumn migration will only be weeks away, as Arctic-breeding waders start to head south again.

Discovering birdsong

by Warren For the last few weeks I have been finding recordings of the songs of the ten birds online, and doing a lot of listening a...