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Monday, 31 May 2010

Are you a winner of the Andrew Ellis limited privilege club draw?

This evening we drew 10 names from our list of privilege club members using a random number generator and here are the lucky winners......

Colin Asquith- UK
Bret Beede- USA
Paul Crawford -Uk
Debbie Forrest -UK
Adrian George -Uk
Peter Moralee - UK
Bruce Padbury - South Africa
Paul Perfect - UK
Lee Rush - Uk
Ian Stewart -UK

Congratulations to you all!
I've sent an email to each of you and when I receive your reply I'll get the prize out to you.


Thursday, 27 May 2010

Extinction happening again,and again

I came across this on the Bird Forum , Another example of Human interests and introducing Foreign species to another environment where they do not belong forcing the extinction of another endemic species.The Aloatra Grebe of Madagascar Lost its battle for existence in our inter fearing world

Published: 12:49PM BST 26 May 2010
Grebe from Madagascar extinct after introduction of carnivorous fish
The Alaotra grebe has been driven to extinction by the introduction of non-native carnivorous fish to lakes in the area of east Madagascar where it was found Photo: AP

The Alaotra grebe, also called the rusty grebe, had been highly vulnerable as it was found only in Lake Alaotra, eastern Madagascar, according to the Swiss-based International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which compiles the Red List of endangered species.

The grebe was wiped out by habitat destruction, by the introduction of a carnivorous fish called the snakehead murrel and by nylon gill-nets which accidentally caught and drowned many birds.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

New book about Dadia reserve in Greece

Just came across this from my friend and Fellow artist Psachalis Douglas.The book features Psachalis's Drawings which are superb by the way! Its all about the Dadia Reserve in Greece which is a major reserve for Raptors in the Mediterranean.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Hobbies Falco Subbuteo.

Last Friday I had the privilege of meeting up with a friend Robin Khan. Robin is a very accomplished bird watcher and has a passion for Raptors luckily for me and it was a great experience to be alongside his expert eye. Originally we had planned to go to a good spot that Robin knows of on the Somerset levels to watch the influx of Hobbies, Falco Subbuteo. These elegant small falcons come to our shores and breed here for the summer. For the last half of the year they have been wintering in Africa but now they are back and it’s always with huge expectation that I and many others like Robin are out on warm summer days hoping to see their dashing flights at emerging Dragon Flies. Unfortunately because of the low pressure weather system we had over us in the early part of May their influx into the country has been a bit sporadic and we missed the opportunity to see them in Somerset. So we headed to another little hot spot here in Devon. The RSPB own an Area of Marshes near the Exe Estuary and its one of the first stop off points for some of our Hobbies and many other summer migrants. I met up with Robin at his home and we then made the short journey to the marshes, it was already warming considerably by now and when we arrived we wasted no time in searching. We quickly spotted a falcon half way up one of the pylons that cross the marsh. We then headed down the edge of the Canal towards Turf Locks Hotel. Looking out westward across the marsh we picked out several Hobbies quite high up already hawking insects on the rising air. The wind was pushing us away from us unfortunately and we decided to walk on down towards the locks and return a bit later in the day to see if they would be at a lower level when the air cooled. There was plenty to keep me occupied. Sedge warblers sang from every reedy patch of scrub that lined the foot path. Now my warbler identification skills are a little on the rusty side and so I asked Robin for his advice which of the warblers I was hearing. In due course I was now able to tell the difference between the scratchy sounding Sedge Warbler and the explosive loud metallic notes of the skulking Cetti’s Warbler and the much more subtle Reed Warbler. Not too long after we were to hear the call of the warblers nemesis the Cuckoo! Although we never saw him. Shelduck pairs passed by us heading into the Marsh pools where they fed alongside Canada geese and a host of Gulls de salting themselves in the fresh water. Herons drifted in and the peace was disturbed by piping calls of pairs of Oyster catchers heading down the canal towards the rich mud flats at the Turf Locks. As the heat started to eat into us we decided to take a break at the turf locks hotel and have a drink and take a look out across the estuary. Whilst there we saw, a rather Late Whimbrel feeding on his own and small groups of Dunlin in breeding plumage were feeding alongside Ringed Plovers. An Egret fished the shallows out in front near the old boat wreck that has been there for years slowly dissolving into the silt of the estuary. As the time past we headed back down the path way hoping to see yet more Hobbies. The sedge and Cetti’s continued to chorus from the margins of reeds and Bramble. On the y way we chatted of the Peregrines recovery. And how Robin in 1971 the year I was born could only find one tiercel on the whole of the Devon coast! What a turn around its been. We soon were back at the small car park and decided to move over to the west side of the reserve as the wind was blowing the insects that way and Robin felt that we would have more luck seeing the hobbies over there. Sure enough we got some good views of them coming our way and of a Peregrine sat in the Pylon that we originally saw a Falcon. Chances are it was him all Along! Robin had seen this falcon take a young Canada goose, gosling a few days earlier and take it to the same pylon to eat it! The Hobbies unfortunately never really gave us the views that we wanted and we decided after a while to head home. Robin Felt that on days like this if they can stock up early of food they will carry on their migration. Hopefully we will see more through the summer and then when they gather to leave our shores for the epic journey south to Africa.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Releasing Partridge, Not easy!


18th May 2010
The next day found me out again this time at Aveton Gifford on the other piece of ground where I have released game. However I have found it more and more difficult to manage time wise and its with a heavy heart that I have to cut down on the amount I do out there. I have always struggled with the fact I cannot do all that is needed to help the Grey partridge I released there. I will continue hopefully, with the land owners help to maintain the feeding in as best way as possible with my time. I headed to the large barns first to get grain for the remaining feeders. Once I filled all the sacks I headed to the valley field as I call it. I had seen a few weeks back a pair of Grey’s around the old release pen. I hoped they were still there and maybe have Young or be on Eggs. I took with me a caller that I have got to see if this would aid me in locating them. I scanned the fields and hedge bottoms but drew a blank. I continued on with removing the old pen and filling the feeders left in place. I tried the caller and sure enough got a reply. They soon appeared in the next grassy field but took off as soon as they saw me. I finished what I was doing letting the caller sound every half hour. I drove off down towards the bottom gate but hugged the edge of the old cover strip. I found them again towards the bottom and managed to get these shots. I hope in the next little while they do manage to rear some young and the extra feed I’ve left may help in some way. We will see? I then headed off to Southdown to remove some of the other pens I have out or half dismantled. I stowed the pen sections in a corner of one of Collins Barns hanging them off the side so as to prevent damp rotting them from the ground up. House sparrows squabbled and chattered busying themselves gathering nesting material or insects for fledglings. A white throat made climbing display flights from the nearby hedge line. Vanessa, Collin’s wife came over and tipped me off to the Sedge warbler that was singing from near a footpath behind the barns. I could hear him but never actually got a sighting of the little devil. Swallows and martins coursed overhead hawking insects. I headed out towards Decca field to remove the sections left out there. I stopped to photograph a splendid cock pheasant with a hen bird in tow. Linnets were in amongst the Wheat growing feeding on the odd stalk of Oil seed Rape that had bolted through. On the Old Wild bird mix section that joins Decca I found a Pair of Skylarks foraging but the male was franticly running after the female, Posturing and singing his heart out I was unaware that this was part of their behaviour. I always assumed that the courtship singing was solely from an aerial position. You learn something every day in the field! I next headed over the other side of the Farm to look for Partridge. Colin had told me where they may be. I used the caller again to see if there was any response but alas I did not hear any. Hopefully they will be not too far away fingers crossed.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

More than a splash of yellow , 17th May 2010

A Day out in the field yesterday was a very welcome break from the studio. I had to do some tidying chores out at Southdown farm. It was a glorious day with high temperatures with a nice SW wind that took the edge off of the heat.There was a profusion of yellow everywhere with the oil seed rape in full flower in many fields. It’s been a while since I had time to check out things on the farm so I got a quick heads up from Colin. He admitted himself that he has not had the time he would have liked to check what’s been coming in. Luckily for us there are a number of other birders that regularly check the farm for rarities and more regular visitors to the farm. Collins main comment was how few Migrants that we usually see are missing. The Dartford Warblers that are usually around in healthy numbers are way down. The others on the low side are willow warblers , House Martins , White throats. It’s not all doom and gloom though as a Hoopoe was seen recently , lots of Kites including a Black Kite. Swallows are here and so are the Swifts that are screaming through the local village. I asked him if he had seen much evidence of Partridge numbers and he said he had heard them at various points on the farm and had seen a nesting pair on the corner of Mushroom Field. On my way round the farm I came across a few white throats a good number of Yellowhammers and some Cirl Buntings . Skylarks were in full song all over the farm. Stock doves , Rooks and also a host of Finches were making good use of the recently ploughed Soar Mill field. The Local Peregrines have managed to fledge at least one young, a tiercel I think, this is very early . They have moved the nest a little up the coast towards Bolberry . I hope to see them soon on the wing around the farm. Curiously the only raptor seen was a solitary Buzzard riding the updrafts coming off of the coast. I was hoping for a peregrine or even a Hobby. The Kestrels were even missing. One very, very opulent bird in full glory at this time of year was the humble Cock Pheasant. Lots of them around the farm and they really are doing well here ,showing all their summer splendour.

Friday, 7 May 2010

FREE PRIZE DRAWS for members of the Andrew Ellis Privilege club

The Andrew Ellis privilege club has now been up and running for 6 months, with new members joining every week- thank-you to all of you that have already signed up, and enjoyed the opportunity to buy giclee prints of Andrew's work at special discounted prices.We are now going to offer those of you in the privilege club an added benefit of being entered into regular FREE PRIZE DRAWS.
The first draw will take place at the end of this month- 31st May- so make sure you join before then.
On 31st May 10 people will be drawn to receive a set of the 8 new greetings cards that went on sale at the falconry fair last weekend.Incase you didn't see them I have added them through this post.What is the Andrew Ellis Privilege club?

This is our way of saying thank-you to loyal customers and fans of Andrew's work,by giving them exclusive special offers. We will select a small number of people each month to receive a fantastic offer through the post. These are offers that will not be available on the website or at shows. It is free to join and membership is open to anyone worldwide. When you join, you will receive 2 mailings per year, these will include details of the offer and a printed order form for you to use. All you have to do is fill out the form and return it to us with your payment. These are exclusive mail order offers and cannot be redeemed via the website.

How do I join the Andrew Ellis Privilege club?
It is quick and simple, just fill out your details on our site at

Remember if you move please let us have your new contact details so that you don’t miss out on your chance to receive these fantastic offers.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Falconry Fair 2010

Well we're back from the falconry fair....It was a family affair this time, Donna and I were working on the stand helped by our good friend chris woods- and for the first time Joe and Maisie joined the team.
The fair wasn't as big as previous years, and attendance was definitely down on the Sunday- probably not helped by the fact that it was flippin cold. But there were more people around on Monday and the sun appeared in bursts at least.There were plenty of displays in the main arena, and our ring-side position meant we could take it in turns to pop out and catch bits of them.
It was great to catch up with so many friends and see familiar faces on the stand, as well as meeting new people.Lots of you came to collect your 2011 calendars- thank-you.
Those of you that asked to have the calendars posted to you- you should have received a paypal request for the outstanding balance by now- if you can pay those then Donna will get them sent out. If you haven't bought your yet they are now on our site.I managed to slip out of the stand and get a bit of photography done, and get some good reference shots for future paintings.Now it's back to it- I'd love to have a day off but i'm chained to the easel for the next few days at least, to get the latest painting finished and off to the gallery.


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