Hummingbird Hawkmoth (revisited)

Hummingbird Hawkmoth edit

Illustration: Hazel Brown

We were on the look out, waiting for it, hoping it might.

It did. Return. Once. Then again a few weeks later.
Humming and hovering over the buddleia.

Quick! Where’s the camera?!
But the films we got were only fleeting, barely in focus.

Probably not the same moth we saw back in August.
But still just as astonishing.

Lets hope for more astonishment next year.

The Green Lane

Green Lane edit

Climbing up beneath arches of ash, hazel and oak, aware of the narrow stony, stumbling rise through the the wood.

A holloway of tangled bracken, bramble, hung with an over abundance of old man’s beard. Ivy too, climbed, clung in dark green garlands, twisting its knotted tendrils in a bid to strangle the tightly growing tall trees.

No birds sing.
No breeze stirs the humid August air.

Through a breathable mesh of broken twigs, is a glimpse of the sea!
Caught in perpetual frantic movement the glittering waves dance beneath.

The startling morning sunlight.

On we climb, the path twists and turns blinking in dark and light, until leaving the dark holloway.
To reach a clearing.
Where the widening sky and horizon meet.

And still no birds sing.

Words & Illustration: Hazel Brown

A Little Herbert

Herbert the Slavonian Grebe Aug 2018 edit

Here is a little Herbert.

You will find him floating up and down, and around and around, the Exe estuary near Dawlish Warren.
He has been floating around and around the Exe estuary near Dawlish Warren for the last 10 years.
Little Herbert is a Slavonian Grebe. He is possibly of noble and esoteric lineage.

Little Herbert, or Sir Herbert as he sometimes prefers to be known, is the only Slavonian Grebe in the Exe estuary. In fact, he is the only Slavonian Grebe in the South-West of England.

He has never had a mate. He will not be the father to other little Herberts. He is all on his little ownsome.

He is not often seen, but if you do, give him a friendly wave. He is not averse to having his picture taken. However, refrain from using flash, as this will make his red eyes look even redder.

Whatever you do, make sure you take account of him on your blog.
For little Sir Herbert, is the last, and only, Slavonian Grebe you will ever be likely to see – in yours, and his, lifetime.

Illustration: Hazel Brown; Words: Ian Nisbet

PS: Little Herbert wants it known, that he is very pleased with Miss Browns illustration. It makes him look like the very best example of his kind. He gives her his most hootiest salute.

Skylark Inspiration

Skylark May 2018 edit

As we left the beach on Dawlish Warren, walked up onto the Bight, the incessant trilling and fluting song of the skylarks filled the air around us.

Dropping down into a small open hollow, we lay ourselves down on the mossy scrubland and gazed up into the bluest of skies, where we soon saw and heard skylarks on the wing, high above our heads.

We watched them fall out of the sky, dropping down, still singing, wings flapping as they dived … then seeming to stop in mid air, hovering for several seconds, the song louder now, they gently glided to the ground.

One’s and two’s perched on dead stalks and twiggy shrubs to give a magnificent performance of full song.

This exhibition of sky diving accompanied by their amazing songs continued for another two hours! A great day out!

Illustration & Text: Hazel Brown

Shelducks on the Teign Estuary

Down to the Teign estuary this Saturday at low tide expecting to see various wading birds.

Saturday afternoon estuary April 2018 edit

Not a sausage. Mudflats bereft of bird (as drawn by Haze there)

Where’ve they all gone? Back to Africa?

Fortunately (for bird blogging purposes) this pair of shelducks turn up.

Shelducks 2 Teign Estuary April 2018

Sifting and sweeping across the mud-flats with red beaked hoovers.

Shelducks Teign Estuary April 2018

Kind of goose-like in size and shape.

Shelducks 3 Teign Estuary April 2018

They took off, with big beating wings, syncronised in tandem together (I got that on film and may use it at some point in the future)

It was cold on that estuary. More like chilly January than April Spring.

Sketch: Hazel Brown; Words: Ian Nisbet

Goldcrest is Here!

Goldcrest edit

A tiny Goldcrest flew into the back garden last week. Within about 10 quick seconds it was gone. Maybe, never to be seen again. But it made an impression. Haze had to draw the above sketch immediately.

Hello all you Cresty Ladies out there! I can’t stop long, so here is me

MATING PROFILE on BoF (Birds of Feather)

First, lets get me name right.

A crusty Victorian poet I knew as Charlie (or Charles Tennyson Turner to give his full snooty name) called me a bloomin ‘Gold Crested Wren’. Wrote a rubbish poem about me an all. So I has to change me name quick to ‘Goldcrest’.

Another silly name daft Victorians was callin me is ‘Woodcock Pilot’; believin I am hitchin lifts across the sea on backs of woodcocks. Eh?! How stupid can you get! Durr! Wrong! I can fly all by meself thank you very much!

So am I a ‘Gold Crested Wren’? No!. Am I a ‘Woodcock Pilot’? No!.
I a Goldcrest, pure an simple.

I light as a feather. Well, not much more than a 10p pea. A quarter ounce (to you and me)
I might be a tiny mite, but I packs a punch for such a titch.
I got no neck, but this gold crest on me bonce gets rather sexy an scintillatin in the sun.

I flew all way across North Sea from Northest Norway to meet you.
I be a bit of a Flash ‘Arry. You won’t see me if you not got sharp eye. I constant on the fidget.
I likes to hide in ivy for a nice spot of spider for lunch, and can hover up dopey insects that ain’t keepin a lookout.
I sometimes flocks wiv Tits, but don’t join them on birdtables and feeders. Too upside down for my likin them Tits.

Bein Britains smallest bird I can’t stand it too chill or cold.

I ain’t afraid of humans; I lands on them sometimes for a bit of a warm.
Old humans can’t hear me sing. So I lands on them too. To tune up their earoles.

I be best bird in Luxembourg. Official. They got me on stamps an everythin.

I be best bird in Britain too if I could. Only robins beat me, got there first, in No 1 spot. Boo!

Ok, thats bin me. Hope all you lovely ladies like me. Give me a wave wiv your camera!

Illustration: Hazel Brown; Words: Ian Nisbet

Storm House

Stormhouse edit

Storm House
It stands alone in wind and weather
Hard fast against the roaring storm
Hard edged through winter’s gales
It dreams of ancestors long gone
Who warmed those ancient walls
Kept dry with hearthstone fires
Through snowstorm, hailstone,
Winter bleak-light. Dimpsy half light,
‘Til sun turns round the year light
When sap snaps the icy fronds
Then buds do burst break through
The closed up dusty window panes
And summer paints those walls and doors
In yellows, greens, of flowerbed hues.

Painting and poem by Hazel Brown 

A Norfolk Now

Sunset landscape edit.JPG

Where BE we?
We not BE in Devon
Too flat.
Devon all green bumps of burps.

When BE we?
BE bout now
When this is OK
A Winter insert.

How BE we?
We BE quite inert.
Squintin thro lines that lurk.

Who BE we?
We BE up this tree
Quiet and unheard.

Too hidden for words.

Two tired little birds.

Drawing: Hazel Brown; Words: Ian Nisbet.

Storm Brian

Storm Brian edit

Blown and Blustered!
Gusted and Fustered
With temperamental Fluster!
It has whined and its howled
Like tormented Fowls!
Whipped up the trees, shaken their leaves
And Dizzeyed the Bees!
The birds have all flown to a much safer home!

Waves crash and smash on the
Old Harbour walls.
Ships strain their ropes, whilst the
Fishermen’s hopes of taking out boats
Are all dashed and postponed…..’til…..
Old Brian is spent and these storms are soon rent
And Autumn’s warm Sun is content.

– Poem & Words: Hazel Brown

Turnering a Saturday Afternoon

We’ve been saturating ourselves in the multi-colourful world of JMW Turner this last week.

So time to go colour in this drizzly grey Saturday afternoon out there.

Haze is looking across towards Teignmouth from Shaldon beach.

Shaldon 2 Sept 2017

She would have been seeing this

Shaldon Sept 2017

And she would have been seeing this

Shaldon 4 Sept 2017

But there was hardly any time to get this scene set, or these boats sketched, before the drizzle arrived.

We had to retire to the shelter to eat our cheese sandwiches and drink our flask of tea.

The drizzle persisted and prolonged, becoming proper rain.

So we drive up to Labrador Bay. Here Haze can attempt another watercolour from the dry confines of the car (while listening to Woolf Works by Max Richter on the car stereo)

Labrador Bay 3 Sept 2017

And this is the watercolour sketch she produced

Labrador Bay 4 Sept 2017

JMW Turner approved, gave her the thumbs up!

Words & Photos: Ian Nisbet; Watercolour Sketch: Haze Brown