Adventures Amongst Northern Birds
Arctic Flight is a collection of sketches and paintings made during trips to see the birdlife of Northern and Arctic regions. There are main chapters on Finnish Lapland, Arctic Norway, Alaska and Chukotka in Far East Siberia.
The book is part of the Langford Press wildlife art series. It is 180 pages long and contains over 140 paintings as well as a wealth of watercolour studies.
There are written accounts of species such as arctic redpolls, arctic hares, bluethroats, Lapland buntings, hawk owls, phalaropes, skuas, divers, willow grouse and Steller’s, common and king eiders to name but a few. There are also accounts of summers spent with specialist species such as the critically endangered spoon-billed sandpiper.
All of the paintings were completed in the field and the written accounts are formed from diaries and notebooks, giving a flavour of living and travelling through remote northern and arctic regions.
The first 50 copies are available as a Limited Edition. These are half leather bound with a slipcase featuring an original etching, both of which are signed and numbered.
Voted Bird Book of the Year 2007 by British Birds and The British Trust for Ornithology.
'People vary so much in their appreciation of bird art that, over the years, rather few books in this category have scored highly with all six judges. We all applauded James McCallum's wonderful evocation of the Arctic summer in his beautifully presented paintings and sketches.'BTO News March-April 2008
'This is McCallum at the height of his powers, a gifted, rigorous naturalist with his finger firmly on the Arctic pulse, and blessed with the painting skill to render it for us with ice clarity.
The diversity of Arctic avifauna is all here, from buntings and Bluethroats divers or loons and gloriously rendered flocks of seaduck, to gulls and skuas.
McCallum breathes life into each and every one of them but none more so than the waders whose tundra colours clearly excite his palette. But there are also important ornithological data embedded here, not least in his remarkable visual record of a Solitary Sandpiper which had occupied an old thrush nest, culminating in the newly hatched young plummeting as they leave, an event rarely observed by even seasoned Arctic observers.
McCallum’s most telling contribution to knowledge and conservation, however, is undoubtedly his portfolio of Spoon-billed Sandpipers on the Their courtship, nesting, territorial behaviour and feeding are all captured with a mixture of dispassionate rigour and evident affection.'
Ibis vol. 150 p 648, Euan Dunn
'This is so much more than a book of artwork, however. There are word pictures too, describing encounters with many of the most charismatic birds and animals of this endangered ecosystem. A highlight is the Spoon-billed Sandpiper which runs to 14 pages. Adventures indeed!
In both word and art it is mouth-watering, our winter birds on their breeding grounds in unbelievable species combinations and doing amazing displays. The book is both fascinating and delightful. The sketches capture the essence by uncluttered economy, often sure bold line fleshed out in swift watercolour. For nearly all of us James's sketches are the nearest and nicest way we will ever get to seeing the minute-by-minute life of a newly acquainted Spoon-billed Sandpiper pair, or a Solitary Sandpiper chick leave the nest. If you enjoy the spontaneity of field-sketch art, this is a book for you.'
Alan Harris, British Birds, January 2008
'Arctic Flight is a remarkable travelogue of James' travels to Arctic latitudes. The illustrations are in his distinctive loose line-and-wash style, and show clearly his eye for precise bird shapes and compositions that have evolved from endless live observation. It will be an inspiration for those who enjoy bird art.'
BTO News Sept-Oct 2007
'This book represents one man's written and visual accounts of his trips to Finland, Norway, Siberia and Alaska in search of birds. The narrative is fascinating and very readable, imparting a strong sense of 'being there' but it is James McCallum's staggering talent with pencil and paint that really sets this book apart. His ability to capture jizz and movement can only have been learned in the field - and it shows. The successful blend of adventure and contemporary bird art makes this volume a must buy.'
Des McKenzie, Birdwatch Magazine, November 2007
Visually it's a great treat, filled with evocative images of the birds and animals of the north. The accounts from James's diaries cover a six year period...... and are wonderfully illustrated, sometimes with quick sketches, sometimes with complete paintings, but all capture the birds and landscapes of these fascinating places.'
Birdwatching Magazine, October 2007
'The text of this elegant book comes from diaries he kept over a six year period and these extracts give the reader a real appreciation of the inhospitable nature of these northern birds....The resulting book is totally amazing as it captures aspects of behaviour never normally seen. The design by John Walters and reproduction standards are first class, enhancing the ever-growing reputation of Langford Press'.
Birds Illustrated, Winter 2007
...'sensational behavioural studies....exciting text...overall an impressive collection of masterfully painted arctic bird species, which also makes fascinating reading.'
Ornis, December 2007
...'his work is lively and impressionistic; Ruffs lekking, flocks wheeling through the skies, teeming flocks of waders - I could almost hear the noise!'
Scottish Bird News, Dec 2007