Dark as a Feather

King of the River. Scraperboard. 4" x 6" 
I only experienced the joy of seeing a Kingfisher once. We were on a family walk along a river in western France. There was a dart of electric blue over my shoulder -and it was gone. For such a fleeting moment, it has had a lasting effect on me and it has kindled a fascination with extraordinary, showy birds. Not the wee brown Richard the Thirds that we mostly see around here -but Kingfishers, hummingbirds -even cock pheasants. It's the iridescent colours that attract me.

It all puts me in mind of when I was a child, growing up in London. My oldest friend was a keen bird-watcher and would rise very early of a weekend morning to visit the local parks and pursue his hobby. Despite being invited many times, I never made it along which I regret to this day. I've said it before, I've never been an early bird -I'm very fond of my bed and always have been.

On walks, he's able to identify each variety of bird he sees, recognise their songs and describe their feeding habits and habitats, whereas I'm hard put even to identify the trees in which they live!

Not long ago, we were walking through Richmond Park, when I noticed many bright green birds flocking together. "They're parakeets", my friend told me. "Eh? Wild parakeets in London?" "Yeah -they're all descended from a couple of escaped pet birds sometime in the past and now they're all over the south-west of London".

True enough; I've just looked the story up on Wikipedia. They're known as the Kingston Parakeets (very close to Richmond). Apparently, there has been an explosion in the population of feral rose-ringed parakeets since the mid-nineties.

So, I let my imagination take flight and produced this little scraperboard work of a Kingfisher on watch. Scraperboard is a joy to use, I have to say. You'll have to use your imagination to see the iridescence of the electric blue and turquoise plumage. At least he'll sit still while you fish around for the colours.

Do make a comment, or a tweet or a squawk, it'd be lovely to hear from you.

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