The Coot, Fulica atra, the dark waterbird.
Coming back from holiday always takes a bit readjustment and I am well behind in my various projects. I didn’t get any sketching done in Amsterdam so output was low but input very high. The Museums, bars, canals markets, food and people were so much fun and so interesting, even in the rain, that we are going back in the autumn. However it was my turn over on Beautiful Beasts last week and after seeing a feisty coot on one of the canals I decided to do some coot sketches. You can read more about these sketches on Beautiful Beasts: see Canal Coot and A Cute…ah no….a Coot Chick.
Near the Rijksmuseum, sections of the canal have been planted with nesting platforms of water plants, just a few feet from the bank. This small coot was very busy chasing anything and everything, including us, away from her nest which contained at least one not-very-pretty little chick.
Her ugly baby
But I am very fond of coot and see them all the time round the reservoir. I had made this sketch of one of our local birds last year.
It’s also also given me the opportunity to finish a trial scraperboard of a coot chick which I had started some years ago.
Scraperboard 4 x 5 inches
In reality the very small chicks are odd looking, with their red/orange bald head and a halo of yellow feathers. They lose these quite quickly. The characteristic white shield of the adult bird, which gives rise to the old saying “as bald as a coot” takes about a year to develop.
Coot are comical and very attractive. I am fascinated by their feet. I am planning a print.:)