2021 Day Visits



At last, after a very long absence due to Covid, TWASI members had the chance to meet up together to watch wildlife! We weren’t a large group, but it was so nice to see each other, including two younger members who had not joined a Day Visit before.

We could walk through the Lemur enclosure, watch penguins, rhino, red panda and other animals, in lovely sunshine, and met up at lunchtime to eat our picnic lunches together and swap notes of what we’d seen.

Liz Mulrey took the opportunity to sketch the giraffe from the raised walkway, and I was very pleased to watch the clouded leopards, made some quick sketches and took some film.

Often these shy cats are out of sight, but on the day they were to be seen walking around their large enclosure, climbing in the trees, and grooming each other on their platform – what a thrill, and provided plenty of reference for a picture which I did later.

This is a very good wildlife park, with lots to see, and is always worth regular visits.

Sarais Crawshaw



Sadly, no other members were able to join me on this visit to Bradgate Park, but I still enjoyed the morning, even though it entailed getting up very early to see the sunrise over the park!

It was worth the effort, as I saw many deer before the park got busy with walkers and dog-walkers, and the deer were, if not friendly, at least apparently so accustomed to people that they moved around me closely without fear.

It’s such a large area of parkland that you couldn’t see all of it, but I walked around in the grassland and woodland and on the paths, watching the Red and Fallow deer and a few Peacocks.

Many of the stags were exhibiting rutting behaviour – roaring, rounding up hinds, or thrashing the undergrowth with their antlers – all good behaviour reference for artwork.

It was too chilly and rather damp to stand sketching, but I took many photographs and films. There was obviously a camera club visiting at the same time, so we all vied for the good positions!

After several hours, most of the deer retreated to the Sanctuary, so I retreated to the nearest café for a hot drink.

Sarais Crawshaw



TWASI’s Annual Christmas Get-Together was a friendly occasion.

There were 15 of us, not as many as some years maybe, but still we had a lovely time greeting each other and swapping Christmas Cards.

The weather was quite reasonable, and we were able to visit the many hides including out at the Estuary, and to watch flocks of waterfowl and waders – and even one fat rat amongst the smaller birds at a feeding station!

A new feature is the Waterscapes Aviary, where we saw many avocets, smew, pintails and spoonbills. The aviary will be a walk-through eventually, but currently was closed off, perhaps due to the avian flu.

Next to it is the new Living Wetland Theatre, where some children were dressing up in the costumes used to feed crane chicks.

Indoor areas where you can see Harvest Mice, Water Vole & Otters were also fascinating, though following the movements of the Harvest Mice was impossible!

Some members chose to go out into the far areas, and sketched contentedly all day.

Most of us met up for lunch, and sat at tables close together to eat and chat.

Some stayed until dusk, to sketch and then to watch the wild bird feed from the heated hide, when some Bewick swan families joined the many geese and other waterfowl in a feeding frenzy under floodlights.

Sarais Crawshaw