Frozen Bird at Christmas

The title of the blog does not refer to Christmas Turkey but rather the wild birds who are struggling in this weather, I have spent the last few weeks (it was meant to be two weeks but we got stranded) at a cottage in the Scottish Highlands, and was struck by the harsh conditions our wildlife had to survive. I did my bit with feeders and water etc. but as I left I wondered how they would cope when the supplies I left ran out.

WoodcockOne of the consequences of this extreme weather is how visible even shy birds become. When walking round the cottage I flushed several Snipe and Woodcock which is not usual in this area. The sight of Partridge and Pheasant is something we see regularly but I have never experienced high numbers of Woodcock close to the village before. As they are largely nocturnal I was able to see them foraging close to the road every night and even started taking photographs as they clearly did not consider the car a threat. I have included a photo which while it is of poor quality; was taken at 11.00 at night from the car.

I have just completed a painting of Red Grouse and am currently painting Red Legged Partridge so a painting of a Woodcock will follow after that, I was certainly very taken with these little guys.