Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Here is a selection from my work done in the last week (still for that children's book about life):

The egg of a Scarce Swallowtail:











Scarce Swallowtail caterpillar:










Chrysalis:












Recently hatched Scarce Swallowtail:












Cca. 2 weeks old Hedgehog:











Almost fledged Barn Owl chicks:











Edible Frog laying eggs:

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I'm working on that children's book about life-development.
Feral Cat:












Barn Owl chicks:











Edible Frog:










English Oak acorns:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I've been working on a bigger (70 x 100 cm) painting with my friend in teh previous 2 days. It illustrates our 2nd biggest river, Tisza, in birds-eye-view. Here is the stage from yesterday evening:











And the final painting with some birds and Grey Cattle on it:











And here we are, my friend on the right:












It was done in acrilics on canvasboard. Please check my friend's blog for more photos: http://zsoldosmarton.freeblog.hu/

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The song and calls of the Siberian Chiffchaff can be downloaded from here:
http://www.pkmk.hu/tristis-mp3.ziphu/tristis-mp3.zip
A photo from this morning:










My friend could take some better quality photos of the bird, see one in his blog:
http://href.hu/x/5afv

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I've painted a Bare-headed Rockfowl (Picathartes gymnocephalus) for commissison. It's a very interesting bird species from Africa. Quite secretive.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

More illustrations for that children's book about life.
Young cat catching a Tit fledgling:











Hen:












Chicken breaking the egg:

Saturday, April 05, 2008

I've found a Siberian Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita tristis) on a small wooden hill in my district (southern Budapest). The first thing I've noted was its non-Chiffchaff like contact call (later realized that it's really Nightingale like as it's said). When I've located the bird, immediately noticed how brown it was, and luckily he started to be singing immediately, making the whole thing suspicious enough to rush for my brothers (in fact we live very close to this patch, this was the practiceing ground for us as teenage birdwatchers. eg. I've seen my very first Blue Tits here).
In the following days we could make detalied observations of the bird, took hundreds of digital photographs, and recorded his calls (contact calls, song, and other). Here I attatch some of my photos with notes on the plumage of the bird.
My very best photo of it, of course with the head turned away. Please note that teh colour of the photos are quite variable, making the judgement of the bird's exact colour not totally reliable. In the field we noticed that there was no yellwo in the plumage (except for the inner wing coverts) and we couldn't notice any greenish hue neither.
On this photo you can discern a faint greyish wingbar. Please note that not only the tips of the coverts are paler, but also a part of the side.












The flanks were greyish-brown, paler than the back, isolating a relatively small white belly patch. Note the dark legs, and the lack of a small yellow patch at the bend of the wing (which I find quite characteristic of the Chiffchaffs breeding here).










Again note the white belly-patch, restricted to the area between the legs. In fact this character was the best separating this bird from the common Chiffchaffs when not calling.














After finding the bird we played tristis song to him, and he reactd quite uniquely. He sat quite patiently near the of bushes, in the open, and was trembling his wings in a manner quite similar to a Starling, giving soft, very Greenfinch-like calls. The yellow innerwing made us uncertain about the identity, but I've found information on the internet that tristis has yellow there (and Hungarian ringers visiting Mongolia also noted that all the tristis they caugth had yellow innerwing). Note the white feather shafts on the breast and the head. Can they be growing feathers?














Again we found the dark flanks a very unique feature compared to the other Chiffchaffs:










Here you can see the isolated white belly patch. Note that the supercilium has no yellow in it (again a usual character of the local Chiffchaffs).












In sunlight the bird appeared more cold greyishbrown, while in overcast light he became more warmer brownish.

































The bill was very dark, when seen from below we could see that the inner part of the lower mandible was a bit paler. Diffuse supercilium with no yellow in it, even with some reddish hue in the part in front of the eye.

















































The bird could be located quite easily when calling. The Nightingale-like contact call was quite different from the call of the common Chiffchaffs (direct comparison was possible as the hill was full of migrating and resident Chiffchaffs).
The song was also very different from the Chiffchaff song, with rarely a clear 'chiffchaff' note. When I first heard it my impression was that it's a mixture of the song of Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler. Our bird was actively singing in the mornings, and rarely in the afternoons.
There was a series of other calls we noted from the bird (I think also recorded), that I don't remember I've ever heard from Chiffchaffs. Most noteably the above mentioned soft, Greenfinch-like calls. I've videoed this call with the Starling-like behaviour (if it's interesting I can post this video also in my blog).
The bird was still present this morning, so I'll go out again tomorrow, at last trying to make some colour sketches.

Here's a short video of the singing bird made by my brother one morning. The bird was quite active in the early morning hours, calling and singing a lot. The song is quite unique, very different from the other Chiffchaffs that were also singing in the area making the direct comparison possible.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I've started a new work for Delachaux et Niestlé (http://www.delachauxetniestle.com/). I have to make illustrations of the steps of the life of several species.
Here are 2 examples, the first and last stage in the life of a Barn owl:























A newborn Hedgehog (the first stage):










And an almost full-grown 2 month old juvenile: