I went to the coast last week to have a look at the 1st year male Desert Wheatear at Thornham Point. Thankfully it was still there when I arrived. As always a stunning bird. But it was incredibly active - constantly active and feeding - sallying for insects and invertebrates along the strandline, which at high tide here covers a very wide area. I stayed around for about 4 hours but only on a couple of occasions did it come close enough to get reasonable scope views. This distance, combined with the continual south-easterly winds combined to stop me doing any paintings of it in the field. Well that's my excuse anyway. I also had a 38x56cm sheet of watercolour paper in a board with me, which just become a massive hindrance, catching the wind at my every turn. I had high expectations of being able to sit down in nice light, with few people around, the bird at close range and be able to produce a good series of paintings... how wrong was I?! I know next time not to burden myself with such excesses - I'd be better off just taking one small pad to convey immediate quick impressions, and not have the hope of creating a perfect portrait in the field. I'm always saying this - I should practice more of what I preach. Anyway, below are a few sketches of the bird. As well as the wheatear, there was also a small group of Snow Bunting, and a group of eleven Whooper Swans flew in off the North Sea - quite spectacular!