I am a bit of a birdwatcher. Not a professional one who knows all the names of birds by heart, let alone in Latin, but I do like to watch birds. It makes me happy when birds come back from Africa after the winter. Seeing the first swallows fly or hearing the sound of the cuckoo in spring makes my heart leap with joy. I am so glad when I see a bird I don’t get to see every day, like a kingfisher or a white-tailed eagle. Whenever that happens, it puts a spring in my step for a few days. So I bought a photo lens that is good for taking pictures of birds. It’s a Tamron 150-600m.

From my workplace, I look straight into the garden and I often take a break from work to watch the birds. This in spite of all dull teachers who are used to warning pupils that they will not amount to much if they are always watching birds. How wrong they are!

There is so much bravery wrapped in downy feathers full of merciless vulnerability.

Our garden has lots of greenery and nesting opportunities. So in summer it is busy here with nesting, feeding, and dabbling parent-birds and their ever-hungry offspring.
The birds in my new artwork were captured in our garden. The bottom one is a blackbird female – the males are black. The middle one is, I think after consulting a friend, a young garden warbler with a bad hair day. On top we find a wren, the smallest but with the most unexpected volume of a powerhouse.

For these small birds, the world is full of dangers: sparrowhawks and cats are at the ready to cut their lives short, starvation in winter or making a journey of thousands of miles to Africa through all weathers.

So these garden birds are not just fun to look at, they are inspiring flying heroes. There is so much bravery wrapped in downy feathers full of merciless vulnerability.