The HNHS and Herts Bird Club have learned with sorrow of the death of the popular Hertfordshire wildlife artist Ernest Leahy,  aged 79, who was also a keen birder and long-standing member of the society.

Ernie, who was a generous contributor of illustrations to the Herts Bird Report and pictures to raise money at HNHS conferences  was largely self-taught. 

Featured picture is Ernie's painting of Fieldfares feasting on apples, contributed to the Herts Bird Report, 2013

His paintings, mainly in water colours, and his sketches often featured birds and wildlife seen near his home in Redbourn or along the Ver Valley. One of his specialties was composite paintings showing a central scene, such as Verulamium Lake, surrounded by smaller studies of the wildlife to be found there.

Other paintings were elaborated from his field sktechbooks from holidays in continental Europe and further afield.

He exhibited his work annually at the Birdfair at Rutland Water as well as events across Hertfordshire. As a knowledgeable birdwatcher, he also took part in British Trust for Ornithology surveys and was also committee member of the Ver Valley Society.

Our sympathy goes to his wife, Jan, and his children and grandchildren.

Ernie's drawing of Black-tailed Godwits from the Herts Bird report 2001