My hearts back in my art again and after a month of not putting pen to paper all I want to do is draw birds and surround myself with bird art.
I have turned a new leaf and have decided that I'm going to try and experiment a bit with Colour and other mediums and try and saturate my work a little more, rather than staying close to my comfort blanket of pen and ink.
I thought I would take this opportunity to celebrate the art of note taking and highlight a few proper note takers whose notes are beautiful to look at and an art piece in themselves.
In an age whereby record shots can get a bird accepted, an avian record verified and photos taken that pick up details that the eye can't necessarily see.
I find it very reassuring to see birders taking notes of their everyday encounters and of common birds as well as the not so common arrivals. Even its to simply compliment photos that have already been taking of the bird or a subject in question within a scrapbook.
The beauty of a notebook and pencil is its reliable!
What happens on that fresh October morning when you stumble accross a Grey-necked Bunting in a cover crop and your camera battery runs out???
Here are a few examples of 1st class note takers! and after seeing these notes I for one wan't to join this circle of the living breathing memory cards rather than just drawing birds without annotating them.
The following sketches depict a Honey Buzzard at an Undisclosed site and a Merlin at Spurn. I know very few other birders with the knowledge that Mick has.
One of my birding hero's! His notebooks are stunning and the birds he has found are a testament to how good a birder he is. He is the most thorough birder I know for sure. He takes notes of everything hes sees and the following field notes speak for themselves
The most valuable lesson I ever learnt about taking notes was during July 2009 when I made a fundamental error with what I thought was a Two-barred Crossbill on Fair Isle. With the Crossbill numbers increasing daily on the island I set off to sift through them in the hope of finding myself a Two-barred Crossbill. On getting to Buness on the 11th there I was faced with a few Wing-barred Crossbills in a group of about 35 Crossbills including a very well marked male with definite wing bars and white tertial fringes!!!!
Having never seen a Two-barred before and any wing-barred Crossbills before for that matter I phoned Deryk Shaw and explained how I thought I had a male Two-barred Crossbill! Del arrived and soon explained how it was a very well marked (probably the most well marked) wing-barred common crossbill he had ever come across. However rather than feeling deflated I thought I would take the opportunity to study an equally rare bird with regards to its plumage...If only I had seen this bird on the 24th of July rather than the 11th..... typically with birding the real deal arrived on the 23rd and gave me views up to 4 ft away whilst it fed on oyster plant!
There are not many places on earth whereby you can sit alone with such a gob smackingly stunning bird only feet away from you...Thankyou Adam Seward!
Here are a few notes I compiled after the event in order to never make the same mistake again...to be honest both birds were equally as beautiful.
Wing-barred female Common Crossbill (11th July 09) courtesy of Deryk Shaw
Wing-barred female Common Crossbill again (11th July 09) courtesy of Deryk Shaw
Wing-barred Male Common Crossbill (11th July 09) courtesy of Deryk Shaw
Close up of Two-barred Crossbill (note distinct lack of white tertial tips worn off resulting from to wear)
Stunning Uppertail Coverts!
Male Two-barred Crossbill (left) without white tips to tertials (worn off) alongside Wing-barred Crossbill with white fringes to tertials!
More than a treat!