What a wonderful time of year it is! Our garden is alive with birdsong and life. Each morning a hare visits our lawn and browses on the overgrown grass which is a great excuse for me not mowing it! After moving he will not normally return again until the grass is four or five inches. I might plant some wild flowers in a section of the lawn next year and let it grow wild, the hares love the security of the longer grass to feed in. The “weeds” will not have to be planted! Hares nibble the plantain and dock leaves I’ve noticed.
The mistle thrushes visited our garden this week for the first time. I have not seen them since their fledglings were killed by the magpies last summer. They feed in a very different manner to their smaller relatives the songthrush. They hop forward in powerful bursts and hold themselves very erect in such a proud manner.
The willow warbler is a relative newcomer to our property. I only started noticing these birds frequently about five or six years ago but now there are at least two pairs in the garden. They are staying with us now during the winter as well as far as I can make out. Their song is wonderful and bubbly and is a great addition to the blackbird and song thrush.
I took a walk along the banks of the river boyne at the end of March and was lucky enough to spot a magnificent dog otter feeding on eels. I tried to sneak towards him for a better photo but he was aware of me and kept working his way downstream. The early morning light on the water that morning is still vivid in my mind and I would love to paint a picture of this scene sometime. I plan to head back next week with my gear and see if I can get a closer image. I will keep ye posted.
I live within a stones throw of the bog. Some of the local farmers burn strips the bog every spring to encourage sweet aftergrass for their stock.Unfortunately some of them burn into the month of April which causes damage to bird nests and young hares.
I took a walk in some native woodlands last week. I was trying to get some photos of jays which I had spotted on a previous occassion. They are very wary birds. I finally heard their chatter and was motionless under an old oak hoping that they might swing my way. I suddenly had the feeling that I was been watched. Out of the corner of my eye a fox was sitting on his hind quarters calmly looking at me. We exchanged stares for about two minutes before he tottered off. I had never seen such a relaxed fox.
I have not bee at my easel for some time now due to family matters. I have managed to get back in the swing of things this week and have been busy catching up on commissions. I will try to post some pics of my recent work shortly.
My next show will be Shanes Casle BASC Game Fair on the 27/28th of June.
It has been quite a while since I blogged but I am still alive and kicking for those of you who were a bit worried! Spring is in the air. The chaffinches and the woodpigeon were in spring song this morning as I ate my breakfast. The lake fishing season kicks off in just over a week and I am getting more excited as the days progress.
I have been invited to exhibit my art at this years Ireland Angling Show later this month.This is the first time that I take part in this show and it is Irelands largest angling show. It takes place at The National Centre near Dublin Airport and the organisers expect 10,000 visitors over the weekend of the 21st and 22nd of Feb. I will be busy completing some fishing pieces for it.
I hope to see some of my regular clients and meet a few new ones.
I will be exhibiting at this years fly fair at the Galway Bay Hotel on the 15th/16th of November. This is a great event for all fishermen and women and one I look forward to every year.
I am showing my artworks at two venues this month. Some of my artwork is on display at Connemara National Park at the moment and will be until the 25th of this month. The park is located at Letterfrack in Co. Galway. I will not personally be present daily. I will however be dropping in occasionally so if anyone wants to discuss any artwork I can arrange to meet them there.
I will also be exhibiting my work at the Ballynahinch Harvest and Country Living Festival at Maltalto Estate, Co Down on the 27th/28th of September.This is a new venture I gather and should be a quality event as it is being organised by the same team that puts the great gamefairs of Ireland together.
Anyone who dropped into my stand at the CLA Game Fair the weekend before last had the opportunity to enter my prize draw for one of my prints. Well the lucky winner was Andrew Lamont from Kent. Well done Andrew!
As anyone knows who follows this blog site I have a great interest in fly fishing. Now I fly fish for many species of fish but trout fishing is definitely my favourite quarry. Pursuing them with a dry fly is in my opinion the most exciting form of this type of fishing and fishing the caenis hatch is definitely la creme de la creme. What on earth is this a caenis hatch you may ask. Well the caenis is a tiny little insect of the ephemeroptera order with about an eight mm wingspan. To a fly fisherman they are regarded either like manna from heaven or a curse, depending on ones knowledge on how to approach fishing this wonderful hatch. Indeed they are often dubbed “anglers curse” by many who are frustrated by the difficulties presented when fishing this hatch.
I LOVE CAENIS FISHING! It must be the most exhilarating hatch to fish as it comes off the water at first light and providing the breeze remains gentle offers dry fly fishing to ravenously feeding trout until late morning. It can, on those rare opportunities in the west of Ireland when the wind does not blow even offer fishing until late afternoon! To be on the water at first light at this time of year is a magical at the best of times but throw in pods of eagerly feeding trout sucking and gulping their way through rafts of caenis, it is enough to make the heart of any fly fisherman flutter with excitement.
You see, the caenis hatch in their millions at first light and quickly shed their skins, like a snake and morph into spinners which is the egg laying stage. They then alight onto the water ,lay their eggs and die. Caenis live short lives. The trout can hardly contain their excitement as the fall increases and the feeding frenzy is a sight to behold. The trout hold station often at an island point and just wait for the little flies to come to them. The slurping and sipping sounds that a pod of fifty gorging trout make is like music to a fly fisherman’s ears.
I have spent a few mornings this week chasing these fish with a mate of mine. We choose mornings with little wind and we had fantastic sport . The worst part is the early rise and shine times from bed. We were on the water at five in the morning. The light is beautiful at this time of the day and all of Gods creations are busy grabbing their first mouthfuls of food.
I hope to get a few more mornings fishing under my belt before the hatch comes to an end.I hope the photos give a feel of the early mornings on the lake.
Rafts of caenis behind island
My caenis Artificial
Releasing a fish from my Kayak
Caenis sippers in the sun
My friend ambushing fish
Early Morning Mist
Three pounds of muscle
My mate releasing a fish
Four Pound Beauty
Caenis and Trout
Swarming fly over the island
Hello everyone. With the fantastic weather here in the west of the country over the last week spring has exploded. My garden is full of songbirds diligently foraging worms and grubs for their young , butterflies and other insects are flying around trying to evade swallows and the plant life in the meadow next to the house has woken up as well. A hare was coming into the lawn to feed until I gave it the first cut of the year about a week ago and he did look a bit perplexed the following day, probably wondering where all the green stuff went to!
I was in Galway city today and dropped into “The Framing Loft” shop on the Tuam road. Some of my paintings are on exhibition there at the moment and will be for another number of weeks. Mark and Sandra who own and run the shop have been very helpful to me over the last number of years with all my framing requirements and their standard of workmanship is second to none. I took a few snaps of the interior of their shop which show the wide choice of merchandise available there. Drop in and have a look at the artwork!
Mark & Sandra
Some of my display