Friday, February 22, 2013

Wild Welsh Mountain Goats

During a recent trip to Wales I was struck by how well the goats that roam wild on the slopes of Snowdonia have adapted to the mountainous terrain .

These prehistoric-looking animals are thought to have been brought over to the UK by Neolithic man. I spent a fascinating few days trying to keep up with them as they nimbly negotiated the precipitous crags.

Following them through dense oakland hung with moss and lichen felt almost primeval. 
It wasn't easy keeping up with the herd as they clambered up the steep, rain-soaked sides of old slate quarries.
This goat was truly living on the edge. The lake was a good 300ft below this crag. To read my article on these fascinating animals click here to link to the Yorkshire Post

Fox's Snow Hunt

I spent a fascinating evening watching a fox vainly trying to hunt for voles under the snow. It is very difficult to get up close to foxes in the countryside so I've posted one of my paintings which captures the look it gave me when it spotted me following.
Take a look at my article on the fox watch by following this link to the Ryedale Gazette & Herald.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Kestrels clash with Short eared owls in epic battle for survival

This winter's snows have brought extra challenges for the wildlife about us - along with some dramatic wildlife watching opportunities. 

Determined not to miss out I got up in my warmest winter camouflage outfit (a snow suit with a pillow case on my head!) and headed off to a dale in Thixendale where I had heard that some short eared owls had been spotted.
It wasn't long before I spotted two owls hunting. They would plummet to the ground and punch through the snow crust to dig out their prey.
But it turned out that I wasn't the only watching. This cunning kestrel was waiting in the wings and I watched as it mobbed the short eared owl.
It turned out that this kestrel was a consistent thief, and I watched it ambush the owls several times over a few days - it's survival tactics were quite impressive in this epic struggle against the elements.
Click here to read more about my encounter in this week's Yorkshire Post .

Thursday, February 7, 2013

All the fun of the farm here in the gallery

Next month I've invited a mobile farm to visit the gallery. There will be piglets to pet, lambs to feed and calves to cuddle and I'm hoping the event will attract families.
I think it is so important to try and get children used to animals so that they grow up with a good understanding of the countryside and all that it has to offer.
The event is free and I have also invited the children to come into the gallery afterwards to look at my paintings of wilder species and have a go at drawing their favourite.
Places are limited so if you're interested in booking on the event on March 16th at 12pm please follow this link to register.