It is a challenge to pick out shapes, tones and movements from a shifting flock of birds. One image is so rapidly replaced by another. I wonder whether this is similar to the confusion of a waiting predator, struggling to identify and focus on an individual in a herd amid a myriad of fast changing patterns.
This is a sketchbook, so here are last week’s sketches, for what they are worth …
Preening and bathing
Standing in strong light from the left.
Every ten minutes or so, the whole flock would take off and weave in something close to formation, now above the tree tops, now careening down across the water surface. I could follow individuals through binoculars, but holding images as a series of frames and putting this on paper was beyond me. Here birds are mostly coming back in to land.
I need to take a different approach to sketching, not trying to capture a still frame as a final sketch but instead collecting information piecemeal: the shapes made by the flock in flight, the synchrony or otherwise of wing beats (see this front cover to the scientific journal Nature last week), the positioning of the heads, tails and feet, the shapes of wings, how the shadows fall … I can try to use printmaking as a secondary medium to pull these data together into an image.
Here by contrast are quick sketches of the shapes made by a sleeping heron.