Wildlife

Meadow Pipit

    The Meadow Pipit is a common nesting bird on the North York Moors, and its high piping calls a familiar sound.  They feed on the ground, mostly eating flies, beetles, moths, and spiders, and in autumn and winter the seeds of grasses, sedges, rushes, and heather. They also build their nests on the […]

Wren Fledglings

  Such commotion and excitement surrounded the emergence of the Wren chicks from their nest in the stone store at my workshop.  As they disperse, the parents become more and more vocal in encouraging them to a safe place and shouting warnings, and the chicks louder and louder in demanding food. They’re so vulnerable at […]

Froghoppers and Spittlebugs

  I saw this insect crawling up a grass stem and just to be sure looked it up to see what it was.  I’ve seen lots of them lately – Froghoppers. This one has a body that is shiny black, with bright red markings.  The colours serve as a warning to predators of their unpleasant […]

Meadowing exhibition

  Today in the studio I’m putting finishing touches to these moths and butterflies, ready for my Meadowing exhibition at Mortall Gallery in Barnard Castle. The small collection of stone sculptures for the exhibition are pieces inspired by the meadow and grassland surrounding my workshop. This year the meadow has been exceptional, the grasses have […]

The Yawning Kestrel

  This year Kestrels have again nested at my workshop – using the Barn Owl nest box.  About a month ago I had thought I heard the smallest chick sounds, and since they have got louder, and the stomping in the box more frequent.  In fact, these chicks have been the noisiest I have known […]

Swifts over the meadow

  The swifts are hunting for insect food to take back to their growing young and I see them flying over the meadow and hear their screeching in the late evening. What extraordinary and special birds they are. This is a standing stone I’ve carved with a simple Swift in flight outline cut through the […]

Otter in Repose Sculpture

  Otter in Repose sculpture carved in Yorkstone. Just completing the finishing touches to my Otter sculpture.  When ready, it is going to live somewhere rather special …… The sculpture shows an otter curled up in a reclined pose, with the tail neatly wrapped around its body.  Though relaxed and resting, Otter is still alert […]

Shrubbery Bird

  Birds love shrubs.  Here there’s a rather tangly, unmanaged shrub area, but it is always full of birds and insects who seem very happy with my casual gardening style. The woody shrubs and climbers provide food for wildlife, including berries, fruits, seeds, nuts, leaves, and nectar-rich flowers.  The shrubbery also provides shelter and breeding […]

Shakespeare called it a ‘dive-dapper’

  I know this bird as a Dabchick, or Little Grebe – a chubby diving waterbird whose habitat of marshes, ponds and lakes supply all the insects, molluscs, tadpoles, small fish and reptiles that it can eat. They’re birds that tend to stay hidden in the reeds and vegetation, but when I’ve seen them, (and […]

The Life of the Shrew

  I’m reading a lovely little book The Life of the Shrew by Peter Crowcroft.  He was in charge of the Mammal Room at the British Museum from 1956 and was a foundation member of the Mammal Society of the British Isles and observed and studied shrews for many years. I see and hear shrews […]