I thought I’d better go and have a look at real birds again. There is always a tricky balance to strike in stylising the subject matter and working from memory. Too much reality on the one hand and the missing minutiae that make something true on the other. If nothing else I got the sense of birds moving in a real space again.
The second time recently that I’ve seen a male bullfinch out in the open feeding on ash keys. I think it is a tough year for birds feeding on hedgerow fruits, there seem to be very few berries left. It took him a long time to process one key and then he would lean down, or stretch across to pick up another. Despite having seen them more recently, when visiting the bird table I still find them tricky to draw, especially when they are contorting upside down to grab a morsel.
The fieldfares (and redwings) were a bit elusive, I mostly saw them resting in the tree tops. Some of the time they were accompanied by a small band of starlings. As it was a fine and reasonably warm day maybe they weren’t so pressurised to feed. The ground is so wet that food is probably very near the surface and easier to get at.