fbpx

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. . . .

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

Read More »
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

Read More »
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

Read More »
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

Read More »
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

Read More »
Tanagers illustration
tanagers

Tantalizing Tanagers

Paradise Tanagers (Tangara chilensis), Lower Manu Road, Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge, Peru. May, 2004. “To stand in bright morning sunshine before a tree laden with ripening berries

Read More »
Fiery-necked Nightjar illustration
Uncategorized

Moon Music

Fiery-necked Nightjar Caprimulgus pectoralis, Vermont, S.W. Cape, South Africa. Of all birds, the nightjars are perhaps the least noticed. Being both nocturnal and cryptically plumaged,

Read More »
Owl illustration
owls

Ginger Giant

Like butter in a hot pan, the mokoro slides effortlessly out from the inlet onto the still, coppery-bronze surface of the Okavango floodplain. The prow

Read More »
Brown-throated wattle eye illustration
wattle-eyes

Ladies First

The Brown-throated Wattle-eye (Platysteira cyanea) is a delightful warbler-sized bird of closed-canopy forest. More often than not, its clear, descending whistle call – or grating alarm notes – are heard before the bird

Read More »
White-fronted plover illustration
plovers

Beach Runners

Like other plovers, the White-fronted Plover (Charadrius marginatus) does not build a nest but lays its camouflaged eggs directly into a shallow scrape – above the high-tide

Read More »
White-tailed shrike illustration
batises

Ground Batis

More often than not, the longer a quest takes, the more satisfying it is. I had seen the strange and monotypic Lanioturdus torquatus (aka ‘White-tailed Shrike’) once

Read More »
Alpine swift illustration
swifts

Alpine Airshow

Swifts are among the most overlooked of birds, as they tend to fly fairly high above the ground (typically much higher than swallows) and they

Read More »
Damara rock jumper illustration
warblers (Macrosphenidae)

Damara Rockrunner

I’d seen a Rockrunner before somewhere in Namibia, in the distance or in a blur – or both. I guess it might have been at

Read More »
Sunbird illustration
sunbirds

Sunbird Songpost

A rapid, scratchy whistle pierces the crisp morning air and I look outside to see him back on his favoured perch. This glorious male Malachite

Read More »
Resplendent Quetzal illustration
trogons

Resplendent Quetzal

There are many reasons to visit Costa Rica but seeing the largest member of the trogon family is high on the list. Sparkling in shades

Read More »
White-fronted plover illustration
plovers

Beach Patrol

Walk along any beach in Africa and – sooner or later – you’ll see a small, pale plover hurrying away from you. Typically, there will

Read More »
Trogon illustration
trogons

Kilmorna King

The temperate, evergreen forests of South Africa are home to a community of trees, plants, birds and other wildlife which occur in pockets from the

Read More »
Crowned eagle
eagles

Helmet Strike

African Crowned Eagle (Stephanoaetus coronatus) being mobbed by White-crested Helmet-Shrikes (Prionops plumatus), Southern Cross Estate, Nelspruit, South Africa While driving through the savanna landscape of

Read More »
Golden-Tailed Woodpecker illustration
woodpeckers

Still Life (with woodpecker)

Deceased Golden-tailed Woodpecker (Campethera abingoni) – female – visited by Banded Blowfly (Chrysomya albiceps). October, 2013. As a birdwatcher, one inevitably comes across a dead

Read More »
Crimson rosella
parrots

Parrot Land

Twenty years ago to the day – 15 September 1993 – and I have left Africa for the first time (since arriving as a 13

Read More »
Find Blog Posts by Topic
Recommended lodges, guides and operators
error: Content is protected !!