Updated September 2014
Last summer the greenshank was missing from my sketches of summer waders but this year I was lucky enough to spot this one in Chapel Pill . . .
Also in the pill at the same time was one adult and one juvenile Grey Wagtail – this is the adult . .
Updated 23 September 2013
Well summer is over and I can feel the cool breath of autumn so this is my last update on summer waders. Over this period I have been able to sketch redshank, ringed plover, oystercatchers, curlew, whimbrel, common sandpipers, turnstones, dunlin and black-tailed godwits. There have been reports of other waders in the area such as greenshank, though I did not see them myself so my list of sketches remains incomplete.
COMMON SANDPIPER AND TURNSTONES
I often see one or two pairs of common sandpipers bobbing rhythmically in the muddy pills at either end of the salt marsh as they look for food. Continue reading
A magical morning listening to skylarks and watching a barn owl hunt across the marsh.
These watercolour sketches recall the owl as it worked its way from one end of Portbury marsh to the other – a beautiful sight on a beautiful June morning. Continue reading
The salt marsh is so rich in plant life that it is hard to know where to start especially at this time of year when everything is flourishing.
In May the raspberry ripple buds of sea thrift (above and below) are plentiful . . . Continue reading
Updated 30 January 2014
I see pheasants on the salt marsh regularly . . . an interesting backdrop for a pheasant!
A cock fight in December
There was much parallel walking as these two cock pheasants strutted and postured on the salt marsh . . .
. . . and then a flurry of feathers. In the background the cargo vessel Danica Sunrise edges her way into Portbury Docks on low water.
This territorial dispute went on for ages and so engrossed were they that my presence remained unnoticed.
Colours in the cockfighting sketches : indian red, cadmium red, burnt sienna, alizarin crimson, raw umber and cobalt turquoise light plus the addition of raw sienna in the sketch above.
On a previous visit . . .
. . . a sudden flurry and that lovely staccato purr of wings of a cock pheasant bursting from the flooding marsh just ahead of me. It is such a pleasure to see and hear them on the marsh . . . and the navigation buoys, docks and Denny Island make for an unusual view.
The buoy is the middle one of three marking the right hand (starboard) edge of the shipping channel into Royal Portbury dock.
Sketched between September and January
Although the wintering teal have now left for their summer breeding grounds I thought I would add some winter time sketches that I have just been leafing through.
I find these small, fast flying ducks that jinx and jive in flight fascinating. Their teal green wing bars shimmer in the winter sunlight, though even on a grey day they don’t disappoint.
When the whimbrels arrive on passage from Africa to their northern breeding grounds and the Scurvy Grass bursts into flower it is a sure sign that spring has arrived on the marsh. Continue reading
The skylarks sketched on this page were seen on Portbury Wharf salt marsh between January and March but they can be seen and heard often.
No other song stirs my memory like that of the skylark. Hovering high up its continuous melody drifts down and draws me back to balmy, carefree days on a rocky headland on the Dorset coast.
An Autumn Morning on the Salt Marsh
A sketch of the irrepressible teal dashing past the Vecht Trader
It was a gorgeous autumn morning as the sun rose over the salt marsh but with a blast of cold air now coming from the north I must remember to wear my thermals next time! Continue reading