In a recent trip to my hometown in Spain I visited my childhood park a few times. I spent many hours birdwatching there in my teenage years, before the arrival of the Collared Dove, now extremely common. In my last visit, I watched a Firecrest feeding atop the pine trees: hovering briefly in front of bunches of pine needles in search of minuscule insects and spiders. I drew the bird with its little crest erect, face on, to highlight how colourful they look in comparison with Goldcrests, the black eye stripe flanked by white highlighting its dark eyes. Watercolour, inkpen and pencil on wacom tablet.
This is my favourite lifer of 2016, the tiny, Goldcrest-like Yellow-browed warbler. I heard it and saw bits of it at Filey, but the following week I watched more at Spurn, while they fed atop some sycamores. It’s no coincidence that I’ve seen this warbler species, native of Siberia, without trying very hard, as it was an exceptional year for them: during the end of September and early October they were more common than other native warblers in the East Yorkshire coast. They were accompanied by an influx of Eastern rarities that followed persistent Easterly winds. As usual, sketch in my wacom Bamboo tablet.