It has been a quiet time on the artistic side for the last few months, but I have been doing something!
Here, for example, is magnificent Short Eared Owl photographed on the Steart Marshes reserve in Somerset, UK. These birds are regular winter visitors here and never fail to excite.
They seem to be able to cover huge distances with just a few beats of their wings. So even a large reserve like Steart is easily covered. This means of course that you don't know where to stand and wait for them, they could be anywhere. And when they do appear they do not hang about for long.
Also photographed at Steart was this flying Curlew above. A much under-rated bird in my opinion. Their numbers are apparently declining which adds urgency to collecting good records of them. Their spine-tingling call is the very spirit of the levels and marshes.
Another common bird routinely ignored by photographers and bird watchers is the Mute Swan, above. They however remain resolutely magnificent, even if no one pays them much attention. I do though. I love to get flight and action shots of these huge birds. This one is just coming in to land and is running off its extra speed. One myth about Swans is that they can "break a man's arm with just one flap of their wing". Hmmm? Really? I saw a television clip of one threatening a wildlife reserve worker, hissing, wings out, head forward - the works. That would have been enough to have me backing off fast, but he just reached out and took it by the wing and pulled it off to one side to direct its agression in another direction. The Swan continued to hiss, but lost interest in the man. That's what I'll do next time I meet an agressive one!
Here is a brilliant clip about two Swans that got tangled up and swam over to ask humans for help - unbelievable. Untangling two Swans
Although the Somerset reserves have been quiet for some time, persistence eventually pays off as when this Kingfisher landed nearby and posed for a photo. Who could tire of these?
Likewise, the reserves are rightly famous for their Great Egrets. Here is a nice shot of one taken at #RSPB #Hamwall.
And another shot of one with a small Pike. It swallowed it in next to no time!
A very elusive bird that I have trouble getting in contact with is the Marsh Harrier, caught up with this one though as it made a close fly past.
Finally, just a quick catch-up on some recent oil paintings. Here is a little (5x7") painting of a Barn Owl on a wall.
And this is another one (8x10") on a post on the Somerset levels.
Not sure if I posted this Great Spotted Woodpecker before but, if so, here it is again!
So, with apologies for the long rest from Blogging, you can see that I am still alive and active. Pondering new daring departures in image creation, but no break through yet.
Meanwhile you can see my stuff at www.johncrabb.co.uk and see the paintings for sale at https://www.artgallery.co.uk/artist/john_crabb