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A Pheasant Pirouetting

Richard Bell’s Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, Saturday, 3rd January 2009


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male chaffinch, winter plumage
wing bars and tail-sides
male chaffinch, winter plumage
female pheasant
female pheasant

AFTER PECKING at fallen sunflower hearts on the ground, the chaffinch attempted to fly up onto the feeder, displaying it’s double white wing-bars and its white tail-sides.


Because of its dull colours I assumed that this was a female but Barbara thinks that it’s a male because of the red on its breast. She’s right; when I check in the book the female (and juvenile) always has a buffish grey-white breast. This is the male in his subdued winter plumage. The rusty red of his breast and cheeks becomes greyer - what I call ‘plummy’ -  at this time of year.

The female pheasant may not be as skittish as the smaller birds but she pirouettes around continually, pecking under the bird feeder, as I draw her.


She’s a gift to draw as she’s got so much character with those slightly mad eyes that look as if she’s applied a little too much mascara and with real expression in the busy helter-skelter way she moves around.


After feeding, she takes an elegant sip from the bird bath; I feel that Gerald Durrell might have said ‘like a country lady up in town, pausing for a gin and tonic after a hectic round of the January sales.’


*sigh* I guess I’ll never be able to write like Gerald Durrell.

steam train
Zucca drinker

Comic Cuts

I’ve been enjoying drawing (using my Parker Reflex fountain pen) roughs for a comic strip in my walks booklet and colouring them using the paint-bucket tool in Photoshop (note the joined-up outlines of all the shapes so the colour doesn’t ‘overflow’).


It’s a way to quickly generate a page and get over all that scary blank white space.

Male Chaffinch in winter plumage

Female Pheasant