This is the first painting of a bird that I’ve done using water colours. It’s a tree sparrow, or to give it its full botanical name, Passer montanus. They are lovely birds and can easily be identified by their chestnut coloured head and the black patch on their cheeks. Sparrows were the first birds I could recognise as a child. There were two types, house sparrows and hedge sparrows. When we started birding a few years’ ago it was a shock to discover that the hedge sparrow had morphed into the Dunnock. The Dunnock is an old English name for ‘little brown bird’ a forerunner of ‘lbj’, or little brown job, a catch all description for – little brown birds.
Tree sparrows are lovely little birds that have had a hard time over the last few years with numbers dropping catastrophically. There are a number of schemes in various reserves around the UK to encourage them to breed. We always see a good few of them at Blacktoft Sands on the Humber Estuary which is currently closed but we are hoping to visit this summer.
So above is my attempt at a tree sparrow. I made a lot of mistakes and did some heinous things with the paint that would probably have me drummed out of any water colour class, but as I see it, the end justifies the means. With the help of some very fine brushes and a simple pen nib, I got to a reasonable finish. It has been deemed sufficiently adequate to go on my husbands study wall, so it can’t be too bad!