Holiday sketches: two kinds of egrets

Snowy white herons called egrets are a little exotic in Britain but are common in Mallorca.  I cycled past fields in which cattle egrets co-existed with sheep and past a stone cistern hosting lines of egrets round the rim.  These sketches were done of birds roosting and hunting in the waters of the nature reserve, spotted by telescope. The larger birds with yellow feet are little egrets, the smaller ones with yellow crests and bills are cattle egrets. 

2014-08-26 12.12.30 By the time I got round to drawing these birds, I felt I had loosened up a bit.  I scribbled only a few lines on the paper, just enough to hold the image so I could go back and throw on a minimum of watercolour washes a few minutes later. The pen and washes work well on the fairly smooth Stillman and Birns watercolour paper.  My aim was to work quickly without overworking the picture.

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I also spotted a line of about 25 elegant waders, black-winged stilts with long red legs and delicate probing bills.

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In loading these drawings, I came across pictures of cattle egrets accompanying horses against a background of tall reeds, drawn while on another cycle ride in Mallorca two years ago with quite different technique.

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4 responses to “Holiday sketches: two kinds of egrets

  1. Those paintings are beautifully loose, must have been that holiday relaxation kicking in. Apart from the liveliness of the birds your vegetation, particularly the foregrounds are really working well. Sufficient detail to ground the birds without being overworked. Some lovely passages there.

  2. Having just traced my steps to this post from the previous one, then as I suspected, it is Mallorca and it’s made my day! These little egrets are so wonderful, they look as though they are ready to do the washing up with their yellow gloves on! Great drawings! 🙂

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