I started working from left to right, swinging the telescope across the stony islands in the pools, drawing what I saw, switching between charcoal and pen. For some sketches in pen, I played a game, aiming to do six drawings in six minutes using six lines each. I managed four drawings, but could not find the discipline to limit myself to six lines. The lapwing drawing was the closest to what I intended.
The roosting black headed gulls were scattered into the air. Another birder said, obscurely, “did he drop it or swallow it?”.
A lesser back backed gull had settled back on an island further away. It had caught a chick apparently. I spent the rest of the time watching the predator. It spent a long time assiduously preening yet I think, always with an eye on the black headed gulls and their chicks. It was mobbed on land by a diving black headed gull and later on water by a lapwing.
It was joined by a second – its mate? – and they flew off north. I think the same bird swept round and came in low over the trees to attack the colony from the south. I don’t think it caught a chick and it was seen off with a pair of the smaller black headed gulls flanking it left and right.
Tomorrow, I will watch again, this time aiming to capture the gulls in flight, the mobbing and the raids. However, time passes. Even within a week, the chicks may be too large and no longer a target.
To see inspirational field sketches which combine simplicity of line and shade with capture of character, movement and shape, its worth googling images using the term “John Busby birds”. A search on Amazon brings up two pages of his books. I met him two years running through the Scottish Seabird Drawing course which he founded and led. As for many others, he had been an influence on me through his books for many years before that. I was sad to hear that he died and his funeral was yesterday.