Jay – forty years ago in my nature notebooks

Forty years ago, before I was a teenager, I started keeping detailed nature notebooks. They were full of scientific facts. I kept notes of the dates, the scientific names and descriptions of the plumage of birds, the smells of mushrooms and the habits of snails. As well as the scientific me, there was the artistic me, and I bought a Daler art pad of acid-free cartridge paper in which to sketch the natural world I observed as a twelve year old. Many of the sketches were done from photographs in library books, some were composites from several drawings, paintings and photographs with my own backgrounds and others were my memories of small brown birds I had seen and couldn’t identify.

Now, forty years later I’m going back to find each of the species I identified back then and blog about them and find each of the species I drew back then and photograph them. There are exceptions, though. Here’s a beautiful Jay which I drew on its nest. All nesting birds need to be given peace and understanding and not disturbed while incubating for fear of them deserting their precious clutch. I definitely won’t be searching for any nesting birds and won’t be photographing them.

Many birds have special protection during the breeding season anywhere in Britain and Ireland. You need a licence if you plan to disturb wild birds listed under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act for photography. I never want to disturb any bird on its nest, even if it isn’t a protected species.

Jay - The Hall of Einar - (c) David Bailey (not the)

All those beautiful Jays are safe on their nests from me.

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