The title of the post is credited to a comment made by artist Nancy Farmer on a recent post.
These drawings were made in ink, with water to create the tones, in an A5 sketchpad.
I stood on a narrow spit of grass-covered rock with steep drops on either side. Kittiwakes wheeled above me, at eye level and far below. Much of the time the birds flew so close that I could draw directly without binoculars.
Many birds were returning to their nests and partners, with ululating greetings by both parties.
Others seemed to be riding the rollercoaster of the air, mostly gliding, with only a few downbeats of the outer parts of the wings.
They circled fast, away from the cliff. Then turning in, they descended, dropping their legs and splaying their toes to use as airbrakes as, perilously, they neared the rock face. There, rising air gave them lift. Gaining height but slowing, they turned and accelerated, soaring out to repeat the manoeuvre.
I had to watch and watch again, trying to fix their shapes in my mind. It seemed that the white body and head was suspended beneath the rigid plane of the wing, reminiscent of a hang glider or a Cessna light aircraft.
I found I was drawing rhomboids, one for the inner wing, made up of the arm and secondary flight feathers, and another for the outer surface made of the fingers and primary feathers. These moved and changed shapes in relation to each other through the cycle of soaring, wheeling and braking.
And always there was the noise of the onomatopoeic kittiwakes.