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Latest Bird of the Fortnight: Gannet

Gannet Illustration (c) Ella Johnston

Ah the wonderful Gannet. I really enjoyed sketching my black and white drawings earlier in the week and I’m loving my final watercolour and ink illustration as I wanted to capture his beautiful mother-of-pearl type bill and the peachy flush on the bird’s glossy head and neck.

If you’re in the UK you can catch these birds at the breeding colonies at RSPB’s Bempton Cliffs, St Kilda, the Northern Isles and Bass Rock in Scotland and Grassholm in Wales.

As you probably know, the word gannet is associated with greed, this is because this mighty bird supposedly has a capacity for eating large quantities of fish. Gannets hunt fish by diving from a height into the sea and pursuing their prey underwater. Apparently Gannets can dive from a height of 30 metres, hitting high speeds as they strike the water so they catch fish much deeper than most airborne birds.

One of my favourite artistic representation of a gannet is by the fantastic Twinkle Troughton called The “A Gannet’s Stomach is Never Full”. I have a beautiful limited edition print of it in my front room – check it out here.

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Bird of the Fortnight: Gannet

Bird of the fortnight. Quick sketch Gannet (c) Ella Johnston

I love gannets and, seeing as they are coming over to our shores at the mo,they are a most worthy bird of the fortnight.

The gannet has the most ugly name yet it is quite a fabulous creature. I mean it has a sleek body, its bill is so pearly and iridescent and its plumage is so smooth. Such a pleasure to study and draw.

Anyway if you haven’t come across my bird of the fortnight posts before here’s the drill. I post three scruffy black and white sketches at the start of the week then present a worked up finished illustration using watercolour and ink at the end of the week so watch this space.

Bird of the fortnight. Quick sketch Gannet (c) Ella Johnston
Bird of the fortnight. Quick sketch Gannet. (c) Ella Johnston