Sunday, March 8, 2009

Drawing - Blue Jay

Blue Jay - Graphite on Paper
Copyright Nicole MacPherson, 2009

Blue Jays are conspicuous in many places. Not popular with everybody, but I love them. These brightly colored birds are a bright spot in winter, and always interesting to watch. Their calls are familiar to most, from the jay-jay call, to the "metal-scraping-on-metal" call. But if you're lucky enough to be close to a pair of them, they also make a beautiful warbling sound.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Sketch - Wilson's Snipe

Wilson's Snipe - Graphite on Paper
Copyright Nicole MacPherson, 2009

We used to have the same snipe as the Europeans - the Common Snipe. Turns out the Snipe on this side of the pond has a different display flight and different tail feathers. Who knew? So we have the Wilson's Snipe. Most literature describes these birds as elusive, but around here in the spring, they are often conspicuous, perching on fence posts and vocalizing. One quick late afternoon drive through the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve (near Tolstoi, Manitoba) produced six such sightings in less than two hours, but there wasn't enough light for great reference photos. None were clear enough for full drawings. Hence, another sketch.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sketch - Ovenbird

Like the Northern Flicker, a woodpecker who doesn't act like a woodpecker, Ovenbirds are warblers that don't act like warblers. Rather than flit around treetops and branch tips, Ovenbirds are found on the ground. Skulking, to be precise. All descriptions of Ovenbirds seem to describe them as "skulking". As far as I could tell, this individual wasn't up to any mischief... Although the only clear photo I snapped of him/her was of the posterior view. Hence the sketch, rather than a detailed drawing.

In field guides, Ovenbirds look rather nondescript. I was surprised at how different they look in person - the few I've seen were not brown, much more of an olive color, visible even without the binocs.

Ovenbird - Graphite on Paper
Copyright Nicole MacPherson, 2009