Winter birds in watercolour

American Goldfinch and Snow Bunting
Watercolor and graphite on 140lb hot pressed A5 paper

One of my favourite things to do on a cold snowy day is grab a coffee, binoculars, camera and my sketchbook, and go “Bunting Hunting”.
I don’t have to go far - I’m surrounded by agricultural fields full of crop stubble - and that is exactly what draws in the Snow Buntings and Horned Larks.  They explore the fields, grazing and chirping, in large flocks. The Horned Larks are fairly approachable and let me get close enough to see details while sketching.  They also tend to hang out in smaller “sub-flocks”than the Buntings. 
But the beautiful sight of a flock of 500 or more Snow Buntings taking to the air when a Northern Harrier gets a little close is a sight to behold. Flashes of white and black glisten and sparkle until they collectively decide it’s safe to land again.

Sketch for American Goldfinch 
The goldfinches are common visitors to my backyard, where I can watch them while I work. 
The subtle colours in their winter plumage are soft and beautiful.


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