Long-tailed Tits and Friends

We are in the midst of another heatwave here, so I am having to walk my dog early in the morning. This does have its advantages as there is often some good wildlife to be seen as the birds and mammals also make the most of the cooler conditions before taking refuge during the heat of the day. I have seen the young Kestrels hopping around the farm buildings and flying rather shakily from one roof to another.

As I was walking along the hedge, I heard a constant stream of twittering and assumed it was Long-tailed Tits, but then realised there were some young Blue Tits and Great Tits in the group as well. They moved in clumpy groups from the copse to the oak tree, talking all the time amongst themselves. There must have been more than forty individuals, all picking around the twigs and leaves for small invertebrates.

I love Long-tailed Tits, and I always think of those crisp winter mornings when a shrub or tree suddenly becomes alive with these tiny birds, all navigating their way through the branches like a military operation. For this reason, they make an appearance in my upcoming new title; more on that in the next post, so I have painted a new one. They have some slightly inconvenient white, and trying to fit that long tail in to a circle is a problem, but I found a good pose that works with the tail, even if I do need to give the bird a new background!


I am trying to do some recreational painting each day at the moment, as the illustrations are creative but in a more structured way, and once they are drawn the painting is more of a colour fill. I have a lovely Clairefontaine linen sketchbook which has 20cm square paper and I really like that size. I am choosing whatever I have to hand and not worrying about accuracy or technique: just enjoying applying paint directly to the paper while listening to music or a podcast, or as part of my FaceTime art session with my mum.

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