The landscape area worked well so looking at the painting afresh with a more experienced eye I thought it worth trying to repaint the birds. I restretched the painting and sponged off the oystercatchers. It was impossible to remove all traces but by making the new group of birds larger I was able to cover up the old ones by making use of Chinese White as a body colour.
The paper I used was Fabriano Artistico Rough. I had a friend who swore by this paper and he produced some lovely watercolour landscapes on it. I have to admit I never got on too well with it and generally took better to a NOT surface.