Saturday 29 March 2008

Chasing the shelduck!

The view from the conservatory is always fascinating, waders and ducks usually dominating the scene. Amongst the usual suspects of wigeon and shelduck, a few teal, mallard and occasionally eider will venture into the bay. Shelduck, however, are a constant joy to watch and to draw. At this time of year they are paired off and preparing to breed. One drake caught my eye for more reasons than his stunning colouration or his ardour - he was colour-ringed. This, it transpires, is quite unusual and has had a few of us at pains to locate the code on the ring. This afternoon I secreted myself under a small stand of willow trees at the bottom of the garden, alongside the beach. From this vantage point I could watch the drake, sheltered from the stiff breeze and supposedly hidden from his view. He is very wary, more so than most of his type - perhaps he remembers the occasion of his capture - whatever, he certainly spends much more time staring directly at me than do the other birds. Gradually, however, as the tide lowers, he moves closer into range of the telescope. At about 150 meters, with max. zoom on the eyepiece, I can (eventually) make out the ring and its message. it is green and in white type are the characters B (or possibly 8) and Z. All we need to do now is find out who and where he was ringed. More to come as and when. Here are a few drawings I made of him and others over the past couple of days.

Tuesday 25 March 2008

The house hunting is stretching over the water now and into Caithness. Sally and I will hopefully take the boat across to Scotland on Thursday and view a few places. The possibility of renting a cottage while something turns up in Orkney is also a strong contender and we think we have a couple of options in this area. Time will tell.

In the meantime, however, I'm using the remaining time in the house to use its finest feature - the conservatory - to best advantage. The horizontal showers of hail and snow are occasionally punctuated by prolonged periods of crisp, bright light, but still very cold weather.

Today I've been back to the 'day job' as an illustrator after the Bank Holiday and only managed a half hour in the conservatory. The drawings are from yesterday and today. I also noticed that one of the sheldrake has a colour ring and a metal one. I'll try geting a wee bit closer and see if I can read anything. I also had a cock blackbird which was ringed and I'm waiting for the information back from the BTO.

Wednesday 19 March 2008

Start at the beginning

Hello, I'm Tim Wootton and I'm a wildlife artist, illustrator and writer and I live in the magical northern islands of Orkney. I'm starting this blog at a time of great flux for me and my family (more of whom later) as we have just successfully sold our lovely cottage by the sea, but have yet to find somewhere else to live! Although we have viewed several houses and quite a few piles of rubble, nothing has been quite suitable - either because of price, location, size or whatever (we're not fussy, honest!).

A renovation project seems the most likely as this would allow us to design the interior according to our own spec. which also includes a workspace/studio for me. The obvious down-side to this solution is the time it takes to complete the renovation - I have to find somewhere to work, making the transition as seamlessly as possible. It'll be fun!

Here are a few samples of my recent work. They are sketches drawn from life, drawn from the conservatory which overlooks a tidal bay, teeming with waders and ducks - it's a special place indeed.