The Swallow and the Feather

Charlotte’s Ice Cream Parlour, Whitley, 10.50 a.m.:swallow lands on the AstroTurf by the picnic tables. Its mate swoops down and flutters above it briefly but doesn’t land.

After fluttering about a bit amongst the tables, the grounded bird takes off successfully but a minute later it flies down again and hovers close to the ground. It appears to be trying to pick up a feather but, as it gets close to it, the draught from its wings blows the feather away.

The picnic area is next to the lovebird and pheasant aviaries, so there are several feathers of assorted sizes lying around.



wallaby, possibly a species of rock wallaby, comes out of its hut to rest in the sun, in the shelter of a lush clump of grass.

In my Royal College of Art days, I enjoyed the weekly all-day drawing sessions at the London Zoo, lead by my tutor John Norris Wood. Drawing this wallaby at Charlotte’s Ice Cream Parlour reminds me how much I enjoy settling down to draw an animal. Focussing on one species for half an hour, an hour or more, is a different experience from trying to capture a moment of behaviour, as with my sketch of the swallow.

Although I’d love to spend a day drawing at Chester Zoo, where they have 500 species of animals, I need only a handful of species to keep me absorbed in drawing for a day, so I could get a lot out of a day drawing a smaller collection of animals, such as here at Charlotte’s.

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