I love watching birds flying, and don’t ever seem to get bored of painting them either. These are black headed gulls, although you can’t really see the black patches on their heads. They only have black heads in the summer.

There’s going to be a lot more birdy pictures coming this way soon: I’ve got some amazing new binoculars, and am heading to Shetland in ten days time.

I’ve been sitting out a lot lately in the evenings watching swifts and bats. I love the way swifts scream, swooping devil birds. Apparently they hardly ever land and even sleep on the wing. I only just found this out, having just read a fantastic book by William Fiennes, ‘The Snow Geese’. He writes a lot about swifts, as well as the geese he follows.

Another noteworthy bird incident recently was I almost took out a poor kingfisher with either a badly, or supremely well aimed stone, depending on how you view things. I was throwing balls for Ashby and while he was fetching it, I was idly throwing pebbles in the river. The kingfisher came around the corner really fast and low to the water and basically flew right into the stone, it had to bank really sharply and sort of veered into the water to avoid the pebble. I’m glad I didn’t hurt it, it would have been like killing a fairy or something.

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