Wednesday 27 March 2013

Some Preambling

A few years ago I started to write a blog, The Topsham Naturalist, it’s still out there if you're interested. For various reasons I found myself posting less and less regularly and it finally dried up – on standby, as I like to think.

Last year I decided to get more active in local birding and to be more organised in my note taking and recording, and I felt the time was right to have another go at blogging. Although I have to think this is largely for my own gratification, a few people at least thought my previous efforts worth reading; and anyway, if I find this stuff fascinating maybe someone else will too. It also occurs to me that it would spare my loved ones having to listen to quite so much of my barely relevant ramblings – maybe that’s why Carolyn was so encouraging?

So here’s the plan; I’ll try to post at least weekly, photos of birds (and maybe other wildlife like insects if I dust off my macro gear) which I’ve seen locally, I’ll find some point of interest (to me at least) and write about it here rather than bore my family.

I’m an illustrator by occupation – here people often say ‘by profession’ or ‘by training’, but the first sounds far too grand, and the latter is certainly not true. I’ve painted birds for money for about 20 years now and been involved with quite a few books, the most notable being The Handbook of the Birds of the World (del Hoyo et al, 1992-2011). I provided illustrations for 13 of the 16 volumes and painted 124 of the plates – far too many some might think.

For the last couple of years I’ve been working with Hadoram Shirihai, Vincent Bretagnolle and Jan Wilczur on Albatrosses, Petrels and Shearwaters of the World: a Handbook to their Taxonomy, Identification, Ecology and Conservation (or The Tubenose Handbook as we call it).

So, as well as the local wildlife that catches my eye, I plan to drop in the occasional item about my illustration work and the world of sea birds.

By the way, the header image is a White-faced Storm-petrel, photographed by me off Madeira a couple of years ago. Now there’s a bird I could go on about at length…

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