Monday, 13 July 2015

Breakfast with the Birds

After several sunny days, Monday began with heavy rain. When the clouds cleared,  a juvenile Magpie landed in the garden. He wasted no time in voicing his displeasure at my tardiness in setting out the breakfast buffet. 

The Magpie is a bold and talkative bird, but this little fellow is more vocal than most. Recently fledged, he possesses the bolshie entitlement of a teenager, and will not hesitate in chasing away other Magpies from the table. With the Pigeons his manners improve and he kicks his feet and busies himself with smaller morsels until he musters the courage to take his turn.  This morning, though, he is first to the garden and is alone. Squawking and grumbling loudly.

When I open the back door he squeaks off up to the roof. I come outside and begin the daily routine of checking the hanging feeders, cleaning up the bird tables and filling the birdbath with fresh water. I set out fresh seeds and scraps and retreat.

The House Sparrows are hungry too, and as soon as I return to the kitchen they arrive in a flurry. A family group of a dozen arrive on the wall. From there they dive bomb down to the ground feeder in twos and threes. They chatter and cheep as they hop and flutter from plant pot to table to chair to hanging feeder to bird bath. There are two little fledglings who sit on the wall waiting for their father to feed them. They shuffle impatiently and ruffle their feathers against the breeze.

When all have had their fill and have washed behind their ears, they return to the treetops and sing their familiar joyful song.

I delight in this spectacle. Watching the feathered visitors to my garden never ceases to make me smile. 

Thursday, 25 June 2015


I am a nature lover and a keen garden bird watcher. I have been inspired by the feathered visitors to my garden to make a series of bird portraits.

Let me introduce you to the Chaffinch. I love his rusty orange and grey tones and the flash of white of tail and feathers when he takes off in flight.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

House Sparrow

Next in my series of garden bird portraits is of the House Sparrow. 

It is very sad that in recent years the population of this wonderful little bird has declined in the UK. Fortunately the House Sparrows in my neighbourhood seem to be thriving.

They often visit my garden in groups of 6 or 8 or more. They land in a muddled gathering along the wall before sweetly swooping over to the bird table and hanging feeders, while the others dive bomb in to the ground feeding table. It is entertaining to watch them lining up around the bird bath to drink before hopping in for a splash. I have a soft spot for these little birds, their cheeping and chirruping song never ceases to make me smile as they gather in wait for the breakfast buffet.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015


I am a nature lover and a keen garden bird watcher. I have been inspired by the feathered visitors to my garden to make a series of bird portraits.

One of my favourite visitors to the garden is the Blackbird. They love fruit and I have several regular visiting Blackbirds who return to my garden throughout the day to enthusiastically partake of the delicious apples I provide. 

I love the song of this beautiful graceful bird, a joyful and optimistic call. This is a male, as it is altogether more dark in appearance while the female is rather more brown and mottled, but both have the brightly coloured beak and eye make up. 


Second in this series of garden bird portraits is the Robin.
Recently voted Britain's National Bird, this colourful little creature is rather feisty and is quite a singer.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Blue Tit

I am a nature lover and a keen garden bird watcher. I have been inspired by the feathered visitors to my garden to make a series of bird portraits.

The first is of the Blue tit, a plucky little bird, instantly recognisable and colourful in shades of yellow blue and green. My blue tit is particularly fuzzy and cuddly, rather like one little bird that enjoys the seeds and nuts I provide on the bird table.


Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Cherry Blossom

Kitao Shigemasa (1739–1820) 
Third Lunar Month, Blossom Viewing at Asuka Hill. 
Colour woodblock print.
Spring has sprung!

Nothing heralds the arrival of spring more beautifully than the Cherry Blossom.

Twisted branches, quiet and dormant  all winter long, burst into life with swathes of delicate blooms. 

For me the Cherry Blossom is a symbol of optimism and promise. It is a sight that never fails to lift my spirits.  

Nowhere is the Cherry Blossom more celebrated than in Japan where the tradition of hanami (flower viewing) is an ancient tradition. Those who gaze upon the blossoms are reminded that life is beautiful and fleeting.

The blooms are delightful but delicate, soon to be swept away upon the breeze.

I wished to capture the ephemeral beauty of the Cherry Blossom.

This new design is my take on contemporary chinoiserie. Depicted is an imagined Floating World, an eternal spring.

Perched upon the branches are yellow white eye birds and little butterflies dance away into the sky.

Nothing is so beautiful as spring!