Introducing leggings. You’ll never run out of inspiration.

This is a page from my Nature Journal – Watercolour in Moleskine 200gsm Nature Journal

  1. My morning prayer :
    “Bless the flowers and the weeds, my birds and the bees.”

The Fiscal Shrike (Lanius collaris) has been a busy little lady, filling up her larder in one of my Celtis trees – this morning I found a Finch fledgling spiked through a twig on the tree and Jackie was sitting close-by, keeping a watchful eye on me.

I love my Shrikes living in my garden (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa), and they know when I approach the feeding tables that it’s snack-time. I have a special feeder just for them, where I fill a pine cone with mince and suet, their favourites.

They provide me with hours of pleasure, watching and sketching them as they either sit in the top of an old dead tree or swoop down suddenly, landing on target of some tasty morsel. They are cheeky and precocious, harassing other birds no end, making sure their territory is clear of competition for food. They are also not past raiding nests, often taking newly hatched nestlings, much to my consternation as I helplessly watch.

The Fiscal Shrike is also named ‘Jacky Hangman’ due to its habit of impaling its prey on Acacia thorns to store the food for later consumption. In my garden they also use the White Karee, which has thorns all along it’s trunk when it is young. My Fiscals often spike grasshoppers, small lizards and even mice on these large thorns and they also use the barbed wire and the spikes on top of the palisade fencing.

One of the Shrike’s larders in the Celtis africana

Camera: Kodak EasyShare C195

I am a watercolorist living on my little piece of African soil in Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa. The inspiration for my art is the wonderfully rich variety of Fauna and Flora to be found throughout this beautiful country.
“There is a fine line between dreams and reality; it’s up to you to draw it.”

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  • craftloft
    craftloftabout 4 years ago

    Love this Maree!

  • SO pleased you like it Mariaan, and thanks a ton for the fav!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • AndreaEL
    AndreaELabout 4 years ago

    Lovely image Maree, and such a wonderful write up, oh how I remember them well, it makes me remember my days in SA, thanks for sharing.

  • Pleased you like it Andrea, thank you very much! When are you coming back….?!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • Elizabeth Kendall
    Elizabeth Kendallabout 4 years ago

    My internet is slow today, that gives me time to read your wonderful info twice and it is worth it!! I always learn something from your words Maree: “Jacky Hangman”…wie sou dit nou ooit kon raai! Beautiful. The picture from your journal looks great!

  • Glad you could spend some time here! lol! and I’m so pleased you like it! The Jackie Hangman is also known as “Jannie Laksman” in Afrikaans, right? Thanks for your lovely comment, very inspirational!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • Sally Griffin
    Sally Griffinabout 4 years ago

    my garsh!! birds are amazing. i learned another new thing today! hang diiner on a thorn. YIKES! but a beautiful sketch!

  • Lol! Pleased you like it Sally, thank you!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • Barbara  Brown
    Barbara Brownabout 4 years ago

    This is so great! Wonderful work Maree!

  • It’s great you like it Barbara, thank you SO much!

    – Maree Clarkson

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