A couple of years ago I had an extraordinary encounter - it was a cold, windy, spring day and I had driven to the nearby village of Hutton-le-Hole where I saw a crested, long billed, orange, black and white bird - very unusual type and colouring for North Yorkshire. I knew this bird as a Hoopoe, but I did not know that they were found in this country - understanding they preferred warmer climates. An incongruous local sighting, on the edge of the moor on a bleak morning.
Anyway, true enough it was a Hoopoe, which had perhaps got blown off course, or made a navigational error!
The hoopoe is an exotic looking bird about the size of a mistle thrush. It has a pinkish-brown body, striking black and white wings, a long black downcurved bill, and a long pinkish-brown crest which it raises when excited. It does not breed in the UK, but birds can turn up in spring (mostly seen as single birds) as birds migrating north to Europe from Africa overshoot and land on the south coast of England.
The reason this incident is in my mind is because my Sitting Bird, I think, may have been influenced by it. As I was carving it, and its personality emerged, it reminded me of a Hoopoe, and of the rather lovely call they have (listen here).
Sitting Bird - Limestone - Jennifer Tetlow 2012