Oil on Board, 7.5 x 10 inches
I painted this one after my recent visit to The Cotswolds. The Windrush river was in spate and the setting sun was behind me, so that a lovely golden-red glow lit up the Willows on the bend and presented rich, warm reflections in the water.
Just a note on the lack of ducklings on my local river, the Welland. I have noticed that there are many fewer ducklings surviving these days. I found just one family group of eight, happily whizzing about as if they have tiny outboard motors. But there were no others at all. That was in Stamford, where there are usually loads being fed by the tourists. On my bit of the Welland nearer my studio, I found one pair with five newly-hatched tiny ducklings and another pair with just one larger survivor. Otters are back in the area, and they will take ducklings if they get the chance, but I'm sure the main culprit is the Otter's smaller and less elusive cousin, the Mink.
I have seen Mink on three occasions and they will eat anything that moves and are a major factor in the disappearance of Water Voles. I used to watch Water Voles every time I went fishing as a boy, but I haven't seen one for 45 years now. Mink have spread throughout the country, after well-meaning animal rights activists released them from fur farms, so that they could fend for themselves in freedom. Fend for themselves they have, and they have decimated the fauna wherever they are. Being a non-indigenous species, a new balance has taken place with the total eradication of Water Voles in many places, and now, I feel sure, the main culprits in the disappearance of so many ducklings.