Frank Jarvis (1939-2002) was a man unknown to many. An avid birdwatcher with a talent for drawing, he was never interested self-promotion, for years filling many notebooks with drawings and sketches purely intended for his own reference. Amongst his few publicly known appearances are his illustrations for Birds of Singapore, written by Chris Hails, and The Birds of Bali, written by Victor Mason. From 1986, Frank and his family set up Old Barn Studio in Kettlestone in Norfolk where Frank taught life drawing, bird sketching and painting.
During his years spent birdwatching, Frank kept meticulous field notes; he never owned a camera. He would return from the field to sit in a café, bar or in his studio, to record what he had observed. He said that drawing is only a matter of really seeing: he developed his own "internal camera" through watching and observing. His illustrations were not intended as bird portraits or identification diagrams per se; rather they were attempts to catch his impression of a specific experience, under varied conditions and in different seasons.
The private field notes and drawings reproduced in this book have been drawn from Frank's copious research files and collections of notebooks and are published here posthumously. In the three diaries covered by this volume, Frank Jarvis documented many of the rarer species that made landfall around East Anglia during this last period of his work. They also record his unfailing delight in our indigenous birds. During this time he also made some brief visits to Wales. Furthermore, this book also contains some examples of meticulous drawings of the dead specimens that family and friends started collecting for Frank.
This book follows on chronologically from Volume 1, illustrating Frank's observations until his untimely death in 2002.
"So much more than a field guide, this book makes an art of paying attention to and recording the natural world. At a time when we need it the most, Jarvis's work is a beacon of astute insights and observational expertise that carries the jizz of a committed fanatic; this is science with heart-stopping illustrations, notebooks with all the revelation, luminosity and clarity of John James Audubon; and with its honest reflections and daily observations it matches Gilbert White's letters and journals. A treasury that will quickly become a classic, Frank Jarvis's book deserves pride of place in the canon of nature writing, a rich and nourishing resource to return to again and again. The wisdom in these pages will never grow old! Let it be a talisman against the decline of species, a wake-up call to what we need to preserve."
– Miriam Darlington, nature writer
"Reading this book is as vivid as the best day's birdwatching, and I cannot imagine a better companion than Frank Jarvis – his vivid eye brings our birdlife alive through his wonderful illustrations and acute observations. A source of inspiration for wildlife lovers and aspiring artists of any level."
– Patrick Barkham, author and amateur naturalist
"The second volume of Frank Jarvis's birding diaries; taking us from 1993 to 2002, is a wonderful treat for the eyes and mind. Through his eyes, we explore East Anglia 's wild places, with immersive and beautifully written field notes alongside a stunning array of artworks, meticulously observed yet sparkling with life and spontaneity. Every page is sure to inspire birders old and young to rediscover the art of field notes, studies and sketches."
– Marianne Taylor, nature writer
"Frank Jarvis once again invites us to accompany him, this time on his travels in East Anglia between 1993 and 2001. As well as his delightful illustrations, his lively text clearly shows the importance he attached to careful observation in the field, as well as his deep love for his adopted county of
– Moss Taylor, author and ornithologist
"The thing that comes across in looking through these journals is Frank Jarvis's unbounded enthusiasm for recording; his writing and his lively sketchbooks capture the essence of dedicated birding. Even mentioning such inconsequential details as a shag flying past and landing in a ditch makes his accounts so immediate that one can easily imagine being beside him in the field, sharing the experience."
– Martin Woodcock, ornithological artist