Not everyone likes the European Starling, especially over on this continent, where they are definitely interlopers. They are, however, beautiful birds, with striking plumage especially when breeding. There are iridescent purples, blues and greens when the sun hits them in the right direction. In addition, they are never alone, always busy, noisy and entertaining. their mass flights in autumn, called ‘murmurations; are always stunning, and I have always been fond of them.
We found a substantial flock at Daniel’s Head last month, feeding in the snow on and around some lobster traps and Mark took pictures.
I decided that they (or at least some of them!) would make a good subject for a painting; I chose birds from different parts of the flock as subjects. It isn’t a huge piece (only 5 by 10 inches) but it still took me several days to complete. These birds are not yet in full breeding plumage; the buffy edges of the feathers have not yet worn away, giving them a very speckled appearance and a surprising amount of colour in the plumage. It was quite a challenge.
‘A Chattering of Starlings’, 5 x 10 inches, watercolour pencil on 90 lb watercolour pencil.
THIS PAINTING HAS BEEN SOLD. Prints available to order, at $25 plus p&p.
Why ‘chattering’? It’s one of the collective nouns for this species, others being (apparently) ‘clattering’, ‘congregation’, ‘cloud’ and ‘murmuration’, although I have always associated the latter with the large flying flocks. Anyway, ‘chattering’ does seem to describe them well.
Just a reminder that the Clark’s Harbour Duck Carving and Painting exhibition starts tonight, Four artists are exhibiting (including me!) and at least 5 duck carvers. Details are below.