Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Interesting...(or perhaps not)

Talking as I was the other post about new identities and such like, thought some of you may be interested in a new blog which has recently appeared online. It's only just started so there's not much info up there yet. Also it's slightly off-topic as it's not directly related to wildlife art or wildlife-anything - in fact it's more of a travelogue-come community noticeboard really -but, hey, the author's a bit odd and it might raise a few laughs out there.

You can check it out at The Shanty Islander

Now back to my paintbrushes (new pics coming soon)...

Monday, 28 September 2009

Dogfight over East Moor

About a mile north of Hawkstor on Bodmin Moor is an area called East Moor. This is one of my favourite parts of the moor, littered with neolithic remains, ruined roundhouses and standing stones, including a fantastic stone circle called the Nine Stones, where during wetter months(i.e. most of the year in Cornwall) the stones actually stand in the middle of a pool of peat-stained water. Anyway, Sunday morning was beautiful and clear, so we trekked out over a beautiful domed hill (which the ordanance survey has imaginatively entitled "Ridge"). Avoiding a wandering gang of belligerent bullocks, we climbed the hill and reached the top to be greeted by the fantastic sight above us of an aerial battle between seven buzzards and five ravens. For maybe ten minutes they whirled about in the blue sky, tumbling rolling, clashing together then wheeling away. The buzzards flashed their talons,but the ravens, despite being outnumbered, definitely had the best of it - attacking and harassing the birds of prey again and again, all the time yelling their insults and generally driving the buzzards mad. Finally, probably deciding they couldn't stand any more hooliganism, the buzzards spiralled up higher on the warm air rising from the hill and eventually dispersed towards the distant bulk of Kilmar Tor. As for the Ravens, well they had a good laugh and flew off too. Typical corvids, all they'd wanted was a good scrap.

Friday, 25 September 2009

I have a new identity

Well, I've bit the proverbial bullet and changed the name of the blog. The old Joel Merriner Wildlife Art Blog had become a bit too industrial and utilitarian for my liking, and not really reflective of the mixed bag of content included here lately. Anyhoo, hope you like the new moniker, keep checking back more changes to come...

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Cornwall Wildlife Trust Art Exhibition

My painting "The Buzzard Rock" has such been selected for inclusion in Cornwall Wildlife Trust's Inspired and Wild touring art exhibition to take place this autumn at various venues across Cornwall

To quote from the CWT website -

"Cornwall Wildlife Trust is holding an exciting Art Exhibition this autumn, which will help to raise vital funds for the Trust as well as showcasing the wealth of local artistic talent from around the county. Entitled ‘Inspired and Wild: Celebrating Cornwall’s Art and Wildlife’, the exhibition will tour from 1st October until the end of January. The tour promises to be a fantastic way to raise awareness of the Trust’s work, and aims to display different interpretations of the wildlife and habitats it protects and conserves in Cornwall."

All work will be for sale with 40% of profits going to help fund the Trust's different conservation projects. Venues will include the The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Geevor Tin Mine, and the Cornish Studies Library as well as the CWT's own headquarters in Allet near Truro.

You can read more about the exhibition and the CWT's work at -

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Long live the Wood Wasp

Well the wasp reign of terror is at an end - the clear skies and cooler nights of the last couple of weeks have done their work and silenced the roaming worker wasps that had been plaguing our garden. However it's not all tragedy for buzzing types...

A couple of days ago I was down the road in Berrio Bridge, stood with a friend of mine discussing how yet another passing car had managed to smash a hole into the side of the 500 year old tudor bridge that spans the Lynher at that point, when a huge insect flew out for under the disturbed granite blocks and buzzed menacingly around our heads. It was very large, much bigger than a hornet, with vivid orange wings, abdomen and legs. It landed right next to me on the bridge and it's inch long ovipositor (egg laying gadget) was there for all to see. No doubting whatsoever, this was a Giant Wood Wasp (Urocerus gigas) or Horntail -a dramatic looking guy who would scare the life out of you as soon as look at you, but in reality is totally harmless. Doesn't even have a sting. In fact he's not even a wasp but actually a variety of sawfly.

But still, he looks good. What do you reckon? Click here

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

The Lodger

Seems we may have an uninvited guest hiding somewhere in the house. Got up the other morning, followed my usual breakfast routine - cups of tea, baby's milk bottle(for the baby obviously), dog biscuits(for me), toast...hmm.
That's when I noticed it - a large hole in the bread bag, with a corresponding hole in the last slice of bread, plus crumbs and chewed pieces of cellophane all across the worktop. Obviously the work of a rodent of some description, far too neat and tidy for a rat, so had to have been a little house mouse. Kept a vigil but no sign of him in the last day or two however, so I'm thinking of scattering some flour across various likely approach routes in the kitchen to see if I can get some footprints to record. A humane trap then seems the likely way to go. Just hope for micey's sake he doesn't encounter the dog before me.

A house mouse, yesterday.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Reign of the Wasps

As the title of this post suggests wasps numbers around these parts are way higher than for many a year. One of our apple trees is literally Wasp City UK at the moment, with hundreds of the little critters buzzing and chomping their way through our nice braeburns. Any apples that fall on the ground are soon covered in with sometimes up to twenty drunken striped individuals stuffing their little insect faces. Seems the whole country is experiencing a bumper year for wasps, particularily right now when the worker wasps are no longer fed sugary treats in the nest so have to disperse to fruit trees, recycling bottles, and discarded jam jars for their fix of the white stuff. Still, weather is cooling fast now, and the choir invisible beckons...

Tis sad but at least I might get some apple pie this year.