Berlin Embroidery Designs – Tanja Berlin
You are doing an excellent job!
You could have staggered the stitches on the outside of the split stitch line in section 1c so that you have a fluffy edge to the bird’s body but it is OK if you do not, not all the birds have to be the same, having a smooth edge of the body makes your bird individual to you.
Yes, it is fine to fill in a space with a short stitch. You should fill the space in whatever length stitch is required to fill in the space so it could be a long stitch, a three quarter length stitch, or a short stitch.
You can go on and work section 1b and then post a picture so I can check the length of the stitches, closeness and angle.