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Never a Gull Moment

Duncan Butchart's brushes with birds

This blog is a collection of watercolour sketches (and occasionally photographs) that capture recent observations or recreate some of my past encounters with birds. I have watched birds on six continents, but have yet to have a memorable moment with a gull of any kind. . . .

Rupicola graphic
cotingas

Rupicola.

Living in the cool cloud forests around Machu Picchu in Peru is the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock (Rupicola peruviana), undoubtedly one of the planet’s most remarkable birds.

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Shy albatross graphic
albatrosses

Ligné Claire – Clear Line

My current approach to painting is to simplify detail and render birds in the ‘ligné claire’ style pioneered by Hergé (aka. Georges Remi) the Belgian

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Common Tern illustration
terns

A Tern on the Tide

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo), non-breeding plumage. On a warm and breezy December morning, Jennifer McKenzie of the Hermanus Animal Hospital was walking along the Vermont

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Torrent ducks
ducks

White-water-fowl

Torrent Duck (pair, male on left), Merganetta armata armata, Chile. Ducks, it has to be said, may not be the most interesting of birds. With

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Royal Flycatcher
flycatchers

My Brush with Royalty

A column of army ants are crossing the path as we enter a clearing where a giant forest tree has fallen. The small gap in

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painted snipe

Painted Snipe

For more years than I care to remember, the Painted Snipe was my number one ‘bogey bird’ – no matter where I travelled, I never

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Asian Paradise Flycatcher illustration
paradise-flycatchers

Ribbon-tailed Beauty

On the edge of a mango orchard, alongside the paddock of a domestic water buffalo, hawked this male Asian Paradise-Flycatcher. The ripening fruit and ruminating

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Barn owl illustration
owls

Night Moves

Every night, just before bed, I take Josie out into the small park opposite our house where she sniffs around and has a pee. Last

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Perch for a scrub robin illustration
Uncategorized

Dipping Out on the Big Twitch

Rufous-tailed Scrub-Robin (well, not the bird exactly, but its perch), Zeekoeivlei, Cape Town Picture the scene. A disorientated man somehow boards the wrong aeroplane and

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Wandering & Royal Albatross illustrations
albatrosses

Albatross astern!

A couple of months ago, I would hardly have known the difference between an albatross and an armadillo. Well, that’s not entirely true, I’ve been

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Gannets illustration
gannets

Seen from the Shore

During the first few months of this year, I spent quite a bit of time observing shorebirds along our little part of the coastline in

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Toco toucan illustration
toucans

Toucan Time

I was well into my forties before I got to see a wild toucan, but this first encounter wasn’t quite the thrilling ‘seek-pursue-and-find’ moment that quickens the

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