Field trip to Farlington marshes,langstone harbour,portsmouth,uk
rabbits feeding and huddling from the cold
Sunday last saw a rare opportunity arise for me to escape the confines of the studio and take a field trip armed with my camera to an outstanding birding spot Farlington Marshes on the outskirts of Portsmouth,uk.At this time of year the marshes and surrounding fields are full of over-wintering brent geese and waterfowl escaping there arctic breeding grounds.I love watching the geese and listening to them as they move to and fro across the grass like two-legged lawn mowers,occasionally taking to the air in unison when alarmed by the presence of a bird of prey.It was a cold,blustery day as I set off to walk around the harbour wall which seperates the marsh from langstone harbour,i was glad I'd brought my wellies as it was very wet after heavy winter rainfall.as I stepped onto the concrete wall itself to skirt around the very muddy path I could see the tide was high and therefore most of the birds would have moved from feeding on the tidal mudflats into the marsh itself to roost until the tide receded and they could return to feed.this often makes it easier to see an abundance of birds as they gather in the lagoon in the centre of the marsh to roost and are a bit easier to spot than when they are on the mudflats.the first birds I came across were a bunch of Teal on the seaward side of the wall feeding along the high tide mark whilst on the fields of the marsh thousands of Brent geese were busily feeding on the grass alongside the beautiful Wigeon,a very handsome duck.despite the blustery conditions I managed(with the help of my partners shoulder) to get some very nice reference shots with my camera of the birds feeding.the lagoon itself was packed with birds,mainly redshank but also a smattering of the usual suspects,egrets,gulls,plovers,lapwings and of course mallard.A lone curlew,very well camouflaged in the last remaining piece of unsubmerged seagrass gave itself away with a call as I passed and I managed to get some lovely photos once I'd pinpointed its position.i slowly circum-navigated the marsh on the seawall until reaching a path which cuts through the middle of the marsh to the wardens hut and shelter opposite to which the reedbeds are a favourite haunt of bearded tits,although I didn't see any this trip.I always enjoy walking the marshes and promised myself I'd return a bit more frequently as its been a while since my last trip and I love the inspiration the area provides.
South coast based Clive Meredith is an entirely self-taught artist and has been working professionally since 1993 specialising in detailed portrayals of wildlife from both Britain and abroad. Clive's initial interest in wildlife and the countryside was fostered in his early years, brought up the son of a dairy farmer, and spending hours outside in the Shropshire countryside birdwatching and larking about on the river Severn and its streams in his hometown of Shrewsbury. Working in both graphite pencil and oils,observation is vital to Clive's working practice.Each drawing or painting reveals meticulous attention to detail,achievable only by hours spent in the field observing and photographing subjects in their natural habitat.As a result Clive has become renowned for the stunning realism of his images and an incredibly assured ability to inject real life and character into his works. His art has been extensively published with over 50 limited edition releases to date and can be found in galleries throughout the uk and beyond. In 2010 Clive was named Wildlife Artist of the Year by Wildscape magazine after winning the prestigious annual competition with his image 'The Egret pool' and appeared as a finalist in the DSWF Wildlife Artist of the Year 2010,2012 and 2013 with works exhibited at The Mall Galleries in London. Clive is a member of the Pencil Art Society and the RSPB.