Friday, 30 October 2015

#Inventabird – The Unspeakable Truth - by Robert Yaxley

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Those of you who enjoy messing around on Twitter might have seen my attempts to rewrite Darwin’s theories by inventing a few bird species of my own. Thankfully, a few other crackpot mavericks – I mean ornithology enthusiasts - have joined me, united by the #Inventabird hashtag. Creations have been diverse, including the Money Buzzard, Dessert Wheatear, Black-throated USB Driver, as well as my own Shearwater Tit, Narwhal Sandpiper, Granny Knot, Fish-tailed Cowcreeper etc. My 9yo daughter has been inspired too, and has contributed with the Spager, a desert waterbird.

My inspiration, such as it is, came from a dream a few years ago. It went a bit like this: I was birding on Fair Isle with some friends, scouring the nooks and crannies for tired migrants, when someone fervently screeched “LOOK! IT’S BRITAIN’S FIRST CURLY WARBLER!!” Of course, I raised my dream Swaro’s, and there it was, a Cetti’s Warbler relative with a bubbly perm hopping around on the floor. And then I woke up, bedclothes akimbo...

 After all, why has Evolution given us the Sunbittern and the Kagu but not the Funny Tern or Swiss Toni’s Warbler? Nature decides, and as a result we are denied the Pants Falcon. So, I thought, why not make it happen? In all honesty, I also wanted to rediscover some of my drawing skills which I had let lapse several years ago, and this seemed an ideal way to get back into the drawing habit. It is really quite amazing how much you can learn about birds from drawing nearly-but-not-quites. I have been experimenting with various media, but at the moment quite enjoy using a fineline pen. Some birds, however, need colour, such as the beer-bellied sandgrouse (flesh pink) for which I have used watercolour pencils.

So – here’s a few images – enjoy. #Inventabird is, as always, a broad and welcoming community, so please feel free to add a few of your own!
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Even some NGBs got involved with #Inventabird

Drew Lyness' Dessert Wheater is a personal highlight.

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