The Amazing Bar-Tailed Godwit

Bar-tailed Godwit

First study, of the Bar-tailed Godwit

Recently I came across this delightful wader in some photos taken by a friend, Wessel Rossouw, on the SE coast of South Africa. But only after I had decided to paint a series of this bird, the Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica), did I discover what an amazing long distance traveler it is during its annual migration. Here are the links (sciencedaily) & (birdlife) of the two websites that give details of its amazing stamina for long-distance flight. It set a record in 2010, for a single non-stop flight of 11,000 kms from Alaska to New Zealand.

Bar-tailed Godwit resting

Bar-tailed Godwit resting. Study 2

         Here are the 3 studies that I  made to celebrate the achievement of this truly extraordinary bird.

Bar-tailed Godwit in flight

Bar-tailed Godwit in flight. Study 3

The Spotted Dikkop

We have a resident pair of Spotted Dikkops ( Burhinus Capensis ), that nest not far from our house. I was fortunate to capture a photo of them last year, and have since been longing to turn it into a small painting.

The Spotted Dikkop

Our resident pair of Dikkops

Salted Lambs

A little experiment with salt to achieve a different texture, on this sketch of 3 lambs.

Three Lambs

Salted Lambs


Our favourite Swallows

We are always delighted when our favourite swallows, the Greater Striped Swallow ( Hirundo Cucullata ) arrives for the summer. We love their contented warbling song/chatter, and wistful call. Now that the summer is almost over, they will soon be leaving for northern parts. They are delightful residents of our verandahs, with their mud nests characterized by long tunnel entrances. We call them ‘Red Caps’ due to the russet colouring on the top of their heads. This year, I was able to get some good photos of them, which inspired this little study. We also have the Whitethroated Swallow, ( Hirundo Albigularis ) , but the Red Caps are our favourites.

Greater Striped Swallow

Our favourite Red Cap swallows

Our Fabulous Scotland Holiday

Although I have never been overseas, John went to Europe for a year when he left school. So this was the first ‘out of Africa’ trip for me.

We decided to take the plunge, when our son, Charles and his wife Janet, had their first baby, beautiful Kayla Skye, in Edinburgh earlier this year. So armed with a new camera and high expectations we left for Scotland early in September.

The new camera worked really hard and produced a wonderful collection of over 7000 photos! But, just once in a while, I took the odd opportunity to do a few on-site sketches.

I was so inspired to paint when we got back that I picked out three favourites, to do more detailed watercolour paintings. There are others that I would like to try, but as the festive season is drawing near, I decided to stop with this little selection. It gives you a sample of the delights we found in the beautiful land of fat sheep, rolling green fields, bagpipes and tartan.

And once in a while a little rain was such a treat for us drought-hardened karoo folk!

These are the watercolours, painted since our return:

Lindisfarne Priory

Lindisfarne Priory ruins on Holy Island, off the NE. coast of England. (A one-day-bus tour took us south to England ) 295 x 420 mm.


Ullapool boats on Loch Broom

: Beautiful misty scene on Loch Broom, at Ullapool. NW. coast ,Scotland. 710 x 520 mm.


Highland Coos

Two shaggy Highland Coos, on the Black Isle, near Inverness. 700 x 510 mm.