Birds of Shore and Sea #7

Common sandpiper or Actitis hypoleucos (2011)

Watercolour on paper, 210 × 297mm.

A smallish wader with contrasting brown upperparts and white underparts.  It habitually bobs up and down, known as ‘teetering’, and has a distinctive flight with stiff, bowed wings.  Its presence is often betayed by its three-note call which it gives as it flies off.



Birds of Shore and Sea #6

Puffin or Fratercula arctica (2011)

Watercolour on paper, 210 × 297mm.

An unmistakable bird with its black back and white underparts, and distinctive black head with large pale cheeks and a tall, flattened, brightly-coloured bill. Its comical appearance is heightened by its red and black eye-markings and bright orange legs. Used as a symbol for books and other items, this clown among seabirds is one of the world’s favourite birds.  With half of the UK population at only a few sites it is an Amber List species.

Birds of Shore and Sea #5

Bkack-headed gull or Chroicocephalus ridibundus (2011)

Watercolour on paper, 210 × 297mm.

Not really a black-headed bird, more chocolate-brown – in fact, for much of the year, it has a white head. It is most definitely not a ‘seagull’ and is found commonly almost anywhere inland. Black-headed gulls are sociable, quarrelsome, noisy birds, usually seen in small groups or flocks, often gathering into larger parties where there is plenty of food, or when they are roosting.


Birds of Shore and Sea #4

Snipe or Gallinago gallinago (2011)

Watercolour on paper, 210 × 297mm.

Snipe are medium sized, skulking wading birds with short legs and long straight bills. Both sexes are mottled brown above, with paler buff stripes on the back, dark streaks on the chest and pale under parts. They are widespread as a breeding species in the UK, with particularly high densities on northern uplands but lower numbers in southern lowlands (especially south west England). In winter, birds from northern Europe join resident birds.

Birds of Shore and Sea #3

Lapwing or Vanellus vanellus (2011)

Watercolour on paper, 210 × 297mm.

Also known as the peewit in imitation of its display calls, its proper name describes its wavering flight. Its black and white appearance and round-winged shape in flight make it distinctive, even without its splendid crest. This familiar farmland bird has suffered significant declines recently and is now an Red List species.

Birds of Shore and Sea #2

Sandwich Tern or Sterna sandvicensis (2011)

Watercolour on paper, 210 × 297mm.

The Sandwich tern is a very white tern, with a black cap on its head, a long black bill with a yellow tip and short black legs. In flight it shows grey wedges on its wings tips and it has a short forked tail. In the UK, many of the important colonies survive because they are on nature reserves.

Birds of Shore and Sea #1

Stone Curlew or Burhinus oedicnemus (2011)

Watercolour on paper, 210 × 297mm.

A strange, rare summer visitor to southern England, the stone-curlew is a crow-sized bird with a large head, long yellow legs and relatively long wings and tail. Active at night, and its large yellow eyes enable it to locate food when it is dark. It is not related to curlews and gets its name from its curlew-like call.