Wednesday, 16 October 2013

119. Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus)

Little Bitterns are seen usually as vagrants in the UK, but this could be starting to change - their breeding range covers much of southern and central Europe and they winter in Africa, however along with other members of the heron family, their range may be advancing northwards into the UK, possibly due to climate change. This year, a pair successfully fledged young at RSPB Ham Wall in Somerset, exciting times!

Little Bitterns are even smaller than Moorhens, and although secretive may often come out to the edges of reedbeds when feeding. The photo below is the male, the female is similarly coloured but much more streaked especially on the back and throat. In flight both show a prominent and unmistakeable creamy buff wing patch (slightly darker in the female).

Little Bittern, ©Mark S Jobling, via Wikimedia Commons.
Little Bittern painting.
I finally got out my watercolours, yay! Was really looking forward to having a go with them, and although at one point I thought my efforts were going to end in disaster, I think the end result is OK actually for a first attempt. I think my approximation of the colours is alright and it's fairly in proportion, but some of my brushmarks are pretty shonky. Can't wait to do some more watercolours and try to improve my technique!

I've been a bit slow with the drawings this week as we're moving offices at work, so have been knackered in the evenings after days spent packing boxes/moving furniture/unpacking boxes. It's nearly done now though.

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