Peregrine Eyrie, Welsh Boarder
Arrival 11am: Warm, Sun/cloud, light breeze.
1st thing, larger young visible above grassy ledge. Almost all down is gone, evidence of persistant preening snagged in surrounding undergrowth like a dusting of snow. A little fluffy patch however still gives it punk appearance reminiscent of its earlier development. Bill and face skin, grey blue (no yellow like adult) Generally browner in mantle, moustache and other dark upper parts, rufous buff on front. Soon out of sight behind grass again. I adult (each parent seems to have favourite perch, this one tercial's, with females near nest, also often on same perch at similar time of day, afternoon being best here) on far right in shade of overhanging bush - quick brush study of cast shadows over form.
No action until 2pm: Adults flying over, calling, young calling. Chicks become very vocal and active, wing stretching, running etc. It was as if they knew adult was preparing to hunt or perhaps they saw one make a kill beyond the trees behind me and below them. Because, shortly after female (lighter than unusually dark tercial) returns with kill. Frenzy ensues, with lots of noise as female tears off flesh for young (later the young do this for themselves). Unpleasant noise of usual repetitive falcon screech but also kind of yapping, possibly younger chick? This lasts 10 -15 minutes. Female airborne to perch on left cliff in full view as I start drawing, then moves to favourite perch, luckily adopting similar position .
It is a good posture, balanced, stretched with tail up slightly showing dramatic black on white bars of lower underside. I get the form in pencil then adapt with the first washes as she drops her wings, relaxes tail and twists a little. I note shadows and take care to get tricky eye - bill position well. 1st wash: wb+cr, good to capture light bluey upper parts of mantle as well as darkness of primaries in heavier washes. However quite green and not grey enough so decide to introduce um and cb (breaking usual habit of limiting palette to one blue). Cb=bs for lightest blue of bill and shadows on front. Um + bs in mantle to tone down original wb washes.
Return to wb+cy for grass, fairly neutral to start then building up intensity, working best where yellows and blues show through from underwash. Cb + bs useful for keeping grey of rock pale, receding and distinguishable from greys of bird (problem in earlier studies) creating depth. Pallette cb, wb, um, cy, cr, qr (flowers), bs. Grass built up with varying intensity of green and carefully darkening and colouring background rock showing in spaces between. With care this could be affective although time consuming.
(+starting with pencil helpful today +Risky with pallete by adding extra blues, threw up more possibilities for colours like yellow to show more of their characteristics + standing always best).
Also about: Common spotted orchid, Bee Orchid, Butterfly Orchid.