Barn Owl (Tyto alba)

Barn owl (Tyto alba) The barn owl may be nearly as pale and white as a snowy owl but there is no mistaking this attractive white owl with brown feathers. They tend to avoid tawny owls who could attack them.  They have longer wings than tawny owls and can silently fly over open countryside whereas tawny owls stay in their woodland homes. Tawny owls make

Honey Bee

The honey bee belongs to one of the most complex societies in nature. If it was not for honey bees it is fair to say that we may all die of starvation. A honey bee colony may have 80,000 bees and most of them are sisters to each other. The queen bee can lay a thousand eggs a day. She is attended by her worker

Bearded Tit Bird

Bearded Tit Bird (Panurus biarmicus)   The male bearded tit is tawny brown in colour and has a long tail similar to the tail of a long-tail tit. The male bearded tit has a blue-grey head and a splendid black moustache rather like a beard which gives him his name. The female bearded tit is quite drab. They are found living in reed beds and have

Bittern Bird

Bittern Bird (Botauris stellaris)   The bittern bird is now considered the rarest bird in the UK.  The bittern is a member of the heron family and is extremely shy and elusive. Before fenland was drained to form farmland, the bittern was once common and vast numbers of booming bitterns in Spring would have been a glorious sound. Bitterns only live in reed beds, beautifully camouflaged

Robin

Robin Erithacus rubecula   The robin bird song is so beautiful particularly at dawn and can be quite complex and melodious but that may be because robins are in the thrush family of birds (Turdidae). As a member of the thrush family, the robin shares a cousin-like kinship with the nightingale, and is also related to the blackbird. Traditionally associated with scenes of holly trees, snow, and

Tortoiseshell Butterfly

Tortoiseshell Butterfly Aglais urticae The tortoiseshell butterfly is a well-known British butterfly but is becoming increasingly less common. The tortoise shell butterfly has quite an elaborate mating ritual. The males select a prime spot near the nettles, their main food plant, and waits for a female. He follows her from behind and drums his antennae on her hind-wings making a faint but audible sound. She

Speckled Wood Butterfly

Speckled Wood Butterfly Pararge aegeria The speckled wood butterfly is brown-coloured. Brown can seem so dull and rather boring.  Brown butterflies sound like they shouldn't be when considering beautiful butterflies such as the swallowtail and purple emperor butterflies. However there are a family of butterflies called the satyridae or the 'browns' of which the speckled wood butterfly is a member. All satyridae species only have

Purple Emperor Butterfly

Purple Emperor Butterfly Apatura Iris The purple emperor butterfly is one of the most beautiful British butterfly species. The male is sometimes nicknamed ‘His Majesty’.  He has a deep blue and purple sheen upon his wings.   The female is only brown in colour.  At a slight flutter of the wings, the purple emperor butterfly wings can change colour from black with white strikes to deep iridescent blue-purple Purple

Puffin Bird

Puffin bird watercolour print Printable Downloadable Artwork Puffin Bird Fratercula arctica What an endearing seabird is the puffin sometimes nicknamed the 'sea parrot'. A puffin has a bright red, dark blue and yellow bill ideal for carrying their favourite food - sand eels. Sometimes their bills are full of sand eels hanging out either side of their beak. Unfortunately with man's impact on

Red Squirrel

Red squirrel Sciurus vulgaris The red squirrel is Britain's only native squirrel. These squirrels who have white or pale brown tail hairs are thought to be the only true British red squirrels. Those that do not have these paler tails may be descended from Scandinavian introductions who were without white tails. Sadly the red squirrel is in terminal decline. The American grey squirrels introduced in the

Kingfisher Bird

Kingfisher Bird (Alcedo atthis) Swift on the wing and clinical in attack, kingfishers are assisted by their amazing ocular faculty. Adaptable between monocular in flight, and binocular in the dive, the kingfisher is able to judge its course with breath-taking precision. During winter, this is especially beneficial as the kingfisher needs to eat around seven times its body weight each day.  Determining between male and

Red Fox

The Red Fox Vulpes vulpes The red fox is sometimes called the Reynard perhaps on account of its rusty brown to red fur. The back of the ears and ends of the foxes legs are dark or black in colour. Usually the red fox has white fur underneath and a white fox tail called a brush with a black tip. The female foxes are called

Adonis Blue Butterfly

Adonis Blue Butterfly Lysandra Bellargus The Adonis Blue butterfly is a British butterfly.  This family of blue butterflies can be quite difficult to identify as they can look quite similar.  Nowadays with man's land use, the environment has changed too much - there are too few species to even be seen at all. However I have seen a holly blue butterfly fluttering around the ivy hedera in my garden. The

Wild Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

Wild Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus Wild rabbits are so delightful and amazing survivalists. They were thought to have been brought to Britain in the 12th century for sport, food and fur. Escaping their rabbit enclosures they soon spread far and wide becoming the most successful colonisers. Wherever grass grows rabbits will be found. Rabbits are very good at grazing right down to the grasses' meristems.  As

Common Lizard Zootoca vivipara

Common Lizard Zootoca vivipara The common lizard of Britain is also known as the viviparous lizard.  The common lizard is a quick and agile reptile that usually grows to around 15 cm in length. They enjoy a rich diet that includes spiders, grasshoppers and flies. Dorsal colouration amongst these scaly vertebrates is predominantly brown and grey-brown, but the tones are extremely varied.  This beautiful skin results

Maran Hen Chicken

Maran Hen Chicken The Maran hen is originally from the French port town of Marans, approximately 83 miles south of Nantes in the west.  This single-combed, medium-sized chicken bird has been on English shores since the early twentieth-century. Famed for its chocolate-brown eggs, the Marans hen is a utility bird, and so is also bred for meat. And, while its French cousin displays feathered shanks, the

Red Admiral Butterfly Vanessa atalanta

Red Admiral Butterfly Vanessa atalanta The unmistakable Red Admiral butterfly is a regular visitor to flower-rich gardens right across Britain and Ireland.  However, they are rarely seen between the months of October and May. The Red Admiral feeds primarily on plant nectar through summer.  Rotting fruit provides sustenance through autumn, when plants may be scarce. Adverse British winters are too gritty for such a delicate

Hairy Dragonfly Brachytron pratense

Hairy Dragonfly Brachytron pratense The hairy dragonfly is named as such due to its fluffy downy thorax. Dragonflies fall into two families the darters and chasers. It relates to how they fly and hunt. My painting of a hairy dragonfly is a hawker, a dragonfly that can fly and hunt for long periods. Another one of my dragonfly painting is of a broad bodied chaser is

Lapwing Vanellus vanellus

Lapwing Vanellus vanellus Lapwings were once a common sight in Britain and their black and white tumbling flight style part of the British countryside. This is a rare sight nowadays. In 20 years between 1970 and 1998, their populations have crashed by 40%.  Sadly, this is the state of affairs for many birds today.  The RSPB advise that, "This decline has been largely caused by

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