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Old Tuesday 26th February 2008, 13:55   #76
desgreene
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Hi Mike, first time I've looked at your personal thread. Just spent a pleasant few minutes going through it right from the start.

It's got everything! Great sketches, superb paintings in a variety of styles, work progressions and also excellent trip reports.

Inspiring and interesting!

Many thanks,
Des.
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Old Tuesday 26th February 2008, 17:26   #77
peter mathios
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Great teal study!!
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Old Wednesday 27th February 2008, 01:21   #78
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All right, so I will spend my time here. Now I feel even more guilty because I missed this one completely. Mike your work takes my breath away. I can't wait to add my two cents in the future!!!!
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Old Friday 29th February 2008, 09:25   #79
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So the round of university interviews continued for my son this week. Wednesday found us in Brighton which gave me an hour or two to see what I could find.

As it turned out I found a very pleasant little river walk in Glynde (close to Glyndebourne and the opera place). The sun was shining and all was well with the world. I spotted a kingfisher almost as soon as I arrived and any day with a kingfisher in it is a good day. A beautiful male kestrel was hunting over a marshy field and I just can't resist a kestrel! He must have been living the easy life working that field, I lifted a large piece of wood hoping to find reptiles and instead found about five or six bank voles which scurried down into runs in the grass so I carefully replaced thier roof.

As I followed the river the kingfisher moved ahead of me and I caught him in the bins four or five times just before he shot off in a blue flash, what a bird!

There were stonechats flitting about too and I managed one or two sketches before I had to get back to the uni and pick up my son ready for the drive home. All in all a really pleasant couple of hours R&R.

Next week, Winchester...

Mike
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Old Friday 29th February 2008, 10:14   #80
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Both full of character Mike.

I'm looking forward to Winchester already!
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Old Friday 29th February 2008, 12:04   #81
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Thanks Des, I'm not sure I'll get anything done at Winchester, I might have to sit through the 'talks for parents' at that one...

Mike
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Old Friday 29th February 2008, 16:41   #82
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Great sketches Mike...and a great read too - when you write these blurbs I'm right there with you - wonderful!! Glad you enjoyed the break so much...
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Old Friday 29th February 2008, 17:07   #83
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lovely sketches, the stonechat is really special, we got our first ones back this week (s*dding things b*gger off for the winter here, not like the proper hard'uns in the UK).
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Old Saturday 1st March 2008, 02:32   #84
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I really like the stonechat too. But I don't know anything about the 's*dding things'; they don't even make it this far...um, east? west? I guess it depends on which way you are going...
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Old Saturday 1st March 2008, 15:16   #85
peter mathios
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Great write up - that is definitely another talent you have!
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Old Saturday 1st March 2008, 15:27   #86
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But I don't know anything about the 's*dding things'; they don't even make it this far...um, east? west?
Beth - do you get yellow breasted chats in your neck of the woods?
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Old Saturday 1st March 2008, 16:54   #87
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We do, it seems. I have never seen one. Are you going to tell me they are similar to the Stonechats?
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Old Saturday 1st March 2008, 17:45   #88
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Well nothing like as brilliant a plumage as that male stonechat - and a bit bigger...about 7 inches apparently with mostly gray back and yellow breast...and nope - I haven't seen one either - but it's on my list of hopefuls for this year...

I've decided 2008 is my year of the endangered species - so I'll be out and about hunting all the varied habitats in search of...

I'll let you know how I get on later in the year...and post any sightings to my blog...
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Old Saturday 1st March 2008, 17:50   #89
ARTHUR BISHOP
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Nice sketches Mike . How is the pheasant coming on.
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Old Saturday 1st March 2008, 22:15   #90
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You tend to forget that birds we take for granted can seem pretty exotic over your side of the pond. Stonechats are such great posers, they like to perch on the very tops of the tallest plants or on the top wires of fences from where they dart out to catch insects and return seconds later. They're curious little birds and some of them can be quite confiding. When you walk down a path where they are hunting the verges, they often accompany you for a way. They let you get to within a couple of yards then they fly down the path ahead for seven or eight yards and perch till you get close again, then repeat the whole performance over and over.

I should have been sorting the pheasant this afternoon but I've been working up the stonechat instead! I really must knuckle down tomorrow...

Mike
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Old Sunday 2nd March 2008, 09:26   #91
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It seems our stonechats (well the Siberian ones to be more precise) have gotten to Alaska before. They really are fantastic birds indeed, I used to see them everywhere living in Aberystwyth, always posing and always with interesting habitat - a very artist-friendly bird indeed. I suppose we do tend to take things for granted when they're common birds. When was the last time any of us (obvious European point of view now) took a second look at a Great Tit (well, maybe Tim would if he saw one on Orkney). For me quite a few birds I once took for granted are very rare (major rarity) here - Herring Gull, Purple Sandpiper, Turnstone, Oystercatcher, Rock Pipit etc, and Dunnock will brighten up any day now!
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Old Sunday 2nd March 2008, 13:35   #92
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Stonechats look a lot like robins, don't you agree? Well done Mike
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Old Sunday 2nd March 2008, 16:46   #93
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Since moving across the country, I have decided to take a more appreciative look at the more familiar birds in my life, because I am missing so many of those that were common back east.
Chris I wish you luck in your endeavor for the year. For me, this is the year for any new species; every time I go out I see someone new. I should move around more often!

More art Mike!!
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Old Sunday 2nd March 2008, 18:28   #94
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Quote:
You tend to forget that birds we take for granted can seem pretty exotic over your side of the pond.
Familiarity seems to breed not contempt but definitely a certain lack of attention...

Having lived in more places than I care to mention ( I don't take holidays - I move! ) gives you a different perspective in that you rarely take anything for granted - in this case a change is definitely better than a rest...ooh just look at all these cliches...lol

Beth enjoy everything that's new - very exciting to be a birder in new stomping grounds...I hear Oregon is a pretty nice place to live...are you on the coast or inland?

My 2008 is off to a good start - saw a pair of hoary redpolls yesterday in my garden - little beauties and quite rare here...and a new lifer for me!! Even managed a few quick sketches which I'll post to the joint thread - it just doesn't get much better than that!
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Old Sunday 2nd March 2008, 19:32   #95
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Cracking stonechat drawing Mike - just spot on. Looking forward to getting my resident swarm back any day now . . .
The kes is a little beauty too, really lovely drawing.
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Old Monday 3rd March 2008, 09:12   #96
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Nice to see plenty of chat about chats! I love the stoneys it seems they never fail to perform. Robins always seem friendly too, it must be a chat thing!

Sunday saw a 5.15 alarm and out to Elmley for the sunrise. When the sun did struggle over the horizon it did so behind the leading edge of a cloudbank giving a dramatic gold and black look to the marshes. The wind was relentless and the car shook with it (Not internally I hasten to add!). The wind had the heavy clouds moving at speed and we knew cold rain wouldn't be long in arriving. Spring is still continuing its advance, despite the wintry feel to the reserve. Ringed plovers were moving along the edges of the standing water in the fields, busting with energy they brightened the day immediately. More redshank around now much to the annoyance of some of the more aggresive lapwings who stooped and dived around anything and everything encroaching on their territory whilst screaming their rights to the various patches of muddy grass. Good numbers of curlew probed the ground deeply in search of food, the shorter beaks of the starling flocks took the grubs closer to the surface and the worms had to watch out for the lapwings which seem to be everywhere again now. The wigeon flocks are still there and I'll miss their whistling when they're moved on. There were also a few oystercatchers around no doubt thinking about setting up a place to raise this year's chicks. I watched a pair of magpies gathering material to make one of their domed nests so eggs and young shouldn't be too long now. Also being territorial were the pied wagtails around the farm buildings and car park, noisy, black and white streaks raced across the car park as rival males chased each other around. Last week there was a barn owl in one of the nest boxes behind the toilets but this week a pair of stock doves were taking an interest and in the other box a little owl crouched out of the wind and very nearly out of sight. On the trip out a female kestrel landed on a gatepost in front of the car and a slow approach saw us creep to within a couple of metres of her. She seemed totally unphased so we decided that, since we had to go through the gate anyway, we would drive slowly forward and see how close she would let us get before she decided enough was enough. To our great surprise and delight she simply sat and looked at us as we pulled alongside of her! We took a couple of photos and moved on, leaving her to her perch. Sometimes birds behave in ways that just don't seem to fit with what you expect from experience.

The pheasant painting came along some more in the afternoon so at least some progress has been made and it should be completed soon. but I couldn't resist painting up my stonechat sketch first, it was only a 10" by 8" after all!

Mike
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Old Monday 3rd March 2008, 09:24   #97
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Love the Stonechat Mike. Forgive my ignorance, is it done in acrylics?
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Old Monday 3rd March 2008, 09:26   #98
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Love the Stonechat Mike. Forgive my ignorance, is it done in acrylics?
Thanks Des, yes it's acrylics on canvas.

Mike
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Old Monday 3rd March 2008, 15:31   #99
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Absolutely fantastic work. Love the pigmy owl in the start of the thread.
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Old Monday 3rd March 2008, 17:24   #100
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Mrs K would make a nice pic. and love the stoney
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