bird behaviour, Sketchbook, Swift diary 2011

Shore Larks and Swifts- Cley, Norfolk, 18th May

Shore Larks and Swifts at Cley, Norfolk- watercolour in sketchbook

An inspiring trip to Cley, Norfolk yesterday found me laying at the bottom of the shingle bank, telescope trained upwards. Feeding near the top of the bank there was a pair of Shore Larks, one of my favourite birds. They were feeding up ahead of their journey back to to the tundra of Norway and Finland. Above them, sometimes by only a few feet, was a constant procession of westward bound migrating Swifts which were following the coastline, some flying above the sea. One of the great joys of natural history is the element of surprise- I would never have guessed that I could sketch Swifts and Shore Larks at the same time. The Shore Larks were feeding on bladder campion flowers, I would imagine they were taking the forming seed. With a deep cerulean blue sky the pink of bladder campion flowers, yellow poppies and the shingle itself made a superb setting for these delightful larks.

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