First dates

OK.  I am sitting on the sofa posting this while watching a piece of highly intellectual television called “first dates”.

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My notes say – flying in formation, almost stopping, upper slightly behind, synchrony in wing beats.  Calling as flying “wowo woweee” rising on the last beat.

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The upper sketch is of a female oystercatcher after coitus.  The act itself lasted 30 seconds or so.  I tried a couple of drawings to capture this from memory.

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A bittern was barely visible in the reeds.  The bloke who pointed it out to me had also caught on camera a pair of courting great crested grebes.  I missed these.  I focussed for most part on birds in flight, particularly catching them coming in to land.

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13 responses to “First dates

    • Thanks, Sharon, for commenting and reblogging. I think this pen and wash technique is allowing me to work quickly and find more dynamism in my drawings. I am also trying to train my visual memory more so I can capture the moment. There is so much to see, even in common birds in an urban setting.

  1. The pen and wash is definitely ‘doing it for you’. These are such lively drawings. I love the Eurasian Coot, which we also get here in Oz, in fact there are quite a few just down the road from where we iive. The cormorants are also fun. We commonly refer to cormorants as ‘shags’ here, do you use the same term in the UK?

    • Hi Leonie
      Thanks. I’ve been trying to find technique for dynamic drawing. I used charcoal a lot last year and will go back to this as well.
      I think a shag is a different but similar species to a cormorant, a bit smaller and less common. Coots are entertaining, often aggressive.
      Cheers
      Neil

  2. Wowwee also describes my reaction to the drawings! How do you capture them? Do you have several beginnings on the go and add a line or so as you see that attitude the next time? I do this with sheep but they’re a lot bigger, slower and more approachable.

    • HI Anne
      Thanks for your comments. This is all just practice. I am trying to develop these skills.
      The pen drawing is done in minutes or seconds. I go back a few minutes later and apply some water to loosen the lines. I do sometimes then deepen the tones or wash out lines that are not quite right – you can see a misplaced wing on a cormorant.
      The real struggle is to train my visual memory. I follow a bird through a cycle of wing beats, using binoculars. I stop and try to capture the sense of its movement in a single sketch and then…the image is gone. I spend a lot of time watching not drawing trying to understand what I see.
      Cheers
      Neil

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